LINGUIST List 13.2039

Tue Aug 6 2002

Sum: Strong/Weak Crossover

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. MOHAMMAD RASEKH, Summary of strong/weak crossover

Message 1: Summary of strong/weak crossover

Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 23:00:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Summary of strong/weak crossover

Here is a summary of the responses on strong/weak

Illicit movement of an operator (for instance a
wh-word) across a pronoun in argument position when
the pronoun c-commands the variable (trace) of the
operator and pronoun and trace are coindexed.

This sounds difficult but isn't quite so:

(1)	*Whoi, does hei think, ti has won the competition?

(1) is ungrammatical with the indexing indicated.
Given this coindexing the interpretation of this
sentence would be:
For what x, x a person: x believes, that x has won the

In this case the variable (who) crosses a pronoun in
argument position (A position) (he). he c-commands the
variable (trace t) and there is coindexing of trace,
pronoun and operator. Compare this with the

(2)	Whoi ti thinks, hei has won the competition?

weak crossover:

Illicit movement of an operator over a constituent
(his mother in (3)) which c-commands the variable
(trace) and contains a pronoun coindexed with this

(3)	*Whoi does [hisi mother] really like ti?

For what x, x a person: the mother of x likes x.

There is no weak crossover effect with A-movement:

(4)	Johni seems to hisi sister [ti to be a fool].

All A'-movements (that is movement in non-argument
position) are subject to the strong crossover effect
while only those A'-movement relations involving a
quantifier-variable relation are subject to the weak
crossover effect. wh-words behave as other quantifiers
do. Compare the question operator of (3) with the
relative operator in (5) (and with the topicalization
in (6)):

(5)	Johni, whoi hisi mother really likes ti ...

(6)	Johni, hisi mother really likes ti.

Mohammad Rasekh Mahand
English and Linguistics Department
Litrature and Humanities Faculty
Bu-Ali Sina University

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