LINGUIST List 12.3017

Tue Dec 4 2001

Books: Syntax

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  1. Ora Matushansky, Syntax: Cyclic Domains in Syntactic Theory

Message 1: Syntax: Cyclic Domains in Syntactic Theory

Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 21:56:33 -0500
From: Ora Matushansky <matushanMIT.EDU>
Subject: Syntax: Cyclic Domains in Syntactic Theory

UConn PhD thesis 2001

Arthur Stepanov &quot;Cyclic Domains in Syntactic Theory&quot;.
$12. For ordering information, visit our Web page:


The dissertation explores a principally non-constraint-based approach
to locality phenomena in wh-movement, in particular, impossibility of
overt extraction of a wh-phrase out of certain structural domains
('islands'), and the successive cyclic character of wh-movement across
a finite clause boundary. The proposed theory of locality utilizes the
idea in the earlier works of Cinque, Bresnan, Cattell and Kayne, that
movement can take place only within certain types of configurations -
'cyclic domains' - and implements this idea in the Minimalist
framework (Chomsky 1995, 2000). Under the minimalist view, the notion
cyclic domain reduces to a cover term for a phrase marker containing a
source and target of movement, in which movement proceeds without
intermediate steps. The proposed theory is conceptually and
empirically superior to the previous transformational theories of
locality which are inherently constraint-based.

In the first part, we argue, contra traditional analyses
(cf. 'Condition on Extraction Domains'), that extractability out of
subjects and adjuncts is regulated by different mechanisms of
grammar. Overt wh-extraction out of a subject is allowed, but leads to
a violation at the syntax-phonology interface if the subject has
previously moved in syntax, forming a non-trivial chain. Overt
wh-extraction out of adjuncts is precluded in syntax because by the
time extraction is supposed to occur, the source and target of
extraction are not (yet) within the same phrase marker. This proposal
accounts for the cross-linguistic variation in extractability out of
subjects and for the apparently universal ban on overt extraction out
of adjuncts, and has other welcome empirical consequences.

In the second part, we address the issue of the local character of
wh-movement in finite clauses. Particular attention is devoted to
investigating the syntax of 'wh-scope marking' questions, in the
framework of Indirect Dependency, developed by Dayal and adopted and
modified here. The key proposal is that the syntactic structure of
wh-scope marking questions and questions involving 'long-distance'
wh-movement is fundamentally similar. Exploring this similarity, we
suggest that successive cyclicity in long-distance wh-movement is a
residual effect of the underlying wh-scope marking structure, and is
therefore epiphenomenal.

Ora Matushansky
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Monday, July 23, 2001