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6 The Vocative and the Clause

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the relation between the vocative phrase and the clause - the external licensing problem. It treats the vocative as part-and-parcel of the speech act configuration: vocP is related to pragmatic particles and to the sentence according to a principled and systematic pattern. The chapter shows that the treatment of VocP as an indirect object is not only a theoretical guess, but there is also empirical justification in this respect. It investigates the relation between VocP and SAhP, and concludes that VocP is in Spec, SAhP, which is at odds with the analysis in Speas & Tenny, where the hearer is the direct object of SAhº. A very common distinction made in the literature on vocatives is that between calls and addresses. The variation in the type of operations that ensure feature checking in sahP is responsible for cross-linguistic contrasts in possible linearizations.

Keywords: cross-linguistic generalization; speech act configuration; vocative phrase

10.1163/9789004261389_007
/content/books/b9789004261389_007
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