LINGUIST List 12.3019

Tue Dec 4 2001

Books: Syntax

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  1. Ora Matushansky, Syntax: Cross-Clausal Phenomena and the Syntax of Passamaquoddy

Message 1: Syntax: Cross-Clausal Phenomena and the Syntax of Passamaquoddy

Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 22:04:45 -0500
From: Ora Matushansky <matushanMIT.EDU>
Subject: Syntax: Cross-Clausal Phenomena and the Syntax of Passamaquoddy

MIT PhD thesis 2001

Benjamin Bruening; Syntax at the Edge: Cross-Clausal Phenomena and
the Syntax of Passamaquoddy;.
$14. For ordering information, visit our Web page:


This study attempts to understand a variety of cross-clausal
dependencies through detailed study of one language, Passamaquoddy
(Algonquian). It focusses in particular on three phenomena: successive
cyclic wh-movement, wh-scope marking, and raising to object. In
exploring these issues I adopt and argue for a recent approach to
cyclicity, the phase and Agree theory of Chomsky (1998, 1999).

The successive cyclic nature of wh-movement is shown to be visible in
Passamaquoddy in a phenomenon of agreement with moving operators
(wh-phrases, relative operators, and focus operators). This agreement
appears on every verb along the path of movement. I argue that the
phase theory coupled with a necessary Agree relation between each verb
and a moving operator can account for this pattern, as well as a
complex pattern of interaction between types of extraction and verbal
morphology. Successive-cyclic agreement is also able to decide
between competing theories of wh-scope marking, a construction in
which short-distance wh-movement takes place but gives rise to a
long-distance interpreta-tion, through association with a
scope-marking element in a higher position. Agreement is shown to take
place even with covert movement in Passamaquoddy, in focus
constructions and internally headed relative clauses. In wh-scope
marking, agreement indicates that one type of scope marking
construction involves covert movement of the lower wh-phrase, but a
second type (the less restricted of the two) does not. This fact and
others that correlate with the difference in agreement indicate that
Passamaquoddy instantiates both of the leading analyses of wh-scope
marking: Direct and Indirect Dependencies (van Riemsdijk 1983, Dayal

Raising to object is shown to involve a dependency of a different
kind: one that is clause-bounded in one respect but not in
another. Raising to object position does not actually target object
position in the higher clause; instead an NP moves just to the edge of
the lower clause, where Agree can take place with the higher verb
(across a clause boundary). However, raising to object apparently
feeds A-movement in the higher clause; but when it does, I show that
the "raised" NP must be base-generated at the edge of the lower clause
and not moved out of it. The reason (the ban on improper movement)
follows from the way features are checked in a cyclic derivation. Data
from Japanese are brought in to show the cross-linguistic generality
of the principles adduced.

Ora Matushansky
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Monday, July 23, 2001