LINGUIST List 13.832

Tue Mar 26 2002

Diss: Syntax: Tang "Parametrization of Features"

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. sw.tang, Syntax: Tang "Parametrization of Features in Syntax"

Message 1: Syntax: Tang "Parametrization of Features in Syntax"

Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 21:08:59 +0000
From: sw.tang <>
Subject: Syntax: Tang "Parametrization of Features in Syntax"

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of California at Irvine
Program: Department of Linguistics
Diss Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1998
Author: Sze-Wing Tang 

Diss Title: 
Parametrization of Features in Syntax

Linguistic Field: 
Syntax, Linguistic Theories 

Subject Language: 
Japanese, English, Chinese, Mandarin 

Diss Director 1: C.-T. James Huang 
Diss Director 2: Naoki Fukui 
Diss Director 3: Y.-H. Audrey Li 

Diss Abstract: 

The major focus of this study is to propose a restrictive theory of
parameters of Universal Grammar in terms of the
principles-and-parameters approach. I propose that semantic features
are invariant across languages; only features that may play a role in
the derivation from the numeration N to the PF interface level
including phonetic features, categorial features, and affix features
are subject to parametric variation, which is called the 'Overt
Parametrization Hypothesis' (OPH).

It is argued that where affix features are associated with a word is
subject to parametric variation. Movement is largely determined by
morphology: movement in the overt component can be signaled by
impoverished' morphology; movement of morphologically 'rich' elements
takes place in the phonological component. Under this approach, a
variety of syntactic differences among Chinese (Cantonese and
Mandarin), English, French, Japanese, Navajo, and Hebrew can be
accounted for. 

Based on the idea of parametrization of affix features, I claim that T
has an affix feature [-V] in English. Such an affix feature is missing
in Chinese. Consequently, there is no V-to-T movement in Chinese and V
moves out of vP in English. A number of apparently disparate
differences between these two languages, including postverbal
no-phrases, the distribution of focus elements, binominal each, the
'SOV' focalization construction, scopal ambiguity of quantifiers,
definiteness of preverbal numeral phrases, gapping, and heavy NP
shift, receive a unified explanation. 

The data presented as evidence for the claim that categorial features
are subject to parametric variation are primarily based on small
clauses in Chinese, English, and Japanese. It is argued that Chinese
small clauses are bare, English small clauses are 'not-so-bare', and
Japanese allows both types of small clauses. The major typological
differences among these languages regarding the structure of small
clauses are derived from a parameter related to the combination of
categorial features of nouns and adjectives. The findings lend support
to the OPH.

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