I'll just jump right to it.

I'm given the following sentence - "We remembered the scary dream", with the instructions to draw an X-Bar, and decide whether this is an ECM or a normal control type.

The thing is - it looks like a regular, simple sentence to me. Trying, or rather, forcing the ECM tests with idiomas and expletive DP, I can reach the conclusion that this is, in fact, an ECM sentence. But then it occured to me - if this is an ECM sentence, what's the inner predicate? Is it "scary"? Can "scary" even be considered a predicate? And how does this fit the ECM theory?

  • It fits the ECM theory any way ECM theorists care to stretch it. Like you said, it's just an ordinary sentence, without X-Bars, DPs, or any other superpowers. All the rest is ritualistic speculation about presupposed but non-existent non-terminal nodes -- what I call "angels and pinheads". The parse is [ˢ [ⁿᵖ we ⁿᵖ] [ᵛᵖ remembered [ⁿᵖ the scary dream ⁿᵖ] ᵛᵖ] ˢ]. Standard SVO. Parsing the scary dream is left as an exercise for the student. – jlawler Jun 7 '15 at 16:44
  • If you want a derivational analysis, you could start from We remembered the dream which was scary, get rid of which was by Whiz-deletion, and then, since scary is only one word, the Eleven-year-old Boy Rule applies to move it before dream. Though the semantics of We remembering the dream is gonna go all Wittgensteinian on you -- dreams are individual, but we is plural. So an unusual, maybe metaphoric sense of some or all of we, remember, or dream is called for. Potentially also scary, too. Oh, btw, yes; scary can be considered a predicate. A predicate adjective, in fact. – jlawler Jun 7 '15 at 16:54
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    In return, please tell me what ECM stands for and what you understand about the phenomenon. – jlawler Jun 7 '15 at 16:56
  • Oh, sorry. Well, I do have to come clean at first then - this was an excercise in Hebrew, which I translated to English. Gloss would be something like: "zaxarnu et ha xalom ha mafxid remember.1pl.pst det.dream det.scary" Now, I'm still a bit unclear about using scary as predicate. Could you provide an example? Adjective predicates are so damn wierd at times. ECM being the Exceptional Case Marking. In Generative Linguistics, we talk about "PRO" and "pro" as unheard\unvoiced anaphora or pronoun. This stands out especially in certain sentences such as "I like to run". (see next comment) – hyit Jun 7 '15 at 17:47
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    @Jlawler, very entertaining! – Tim Osborne Jun 9 '15 at 6:34

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