LINGUIST List 14.1360

Mon May 12 2003

Review: Syntax: Alexiadou et al. (2002)

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  1. Jonathan White, Dimensions of Movement: From Features to Remnants

Message 1: Dimensions of Movement: From Features to Remnants

Date: Mon, 12 May 2003 13:21:51 +0000
From: Jonathan White <>
Subject: Dimensions of Movement: From Features to Remnants

Alexiadou, Artemis, Elena Anagnostopoulou, Sjef Barbiers and
Hans-Martin G�rtner (2002) Dimensions of Movement: From Features to
Remnants, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Linguistik
Aktuell/Linguistics Today 48.

Announced at

Jonathan White, H�gskolan Dalarna, Sweden


Chapter 1: Introduction (Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou, Barbiers and G�rtner)

It is often assumed in the Minimalist program that there are two types
of movement, overt movement and covert movement, the difference being
that we can see the effects of overt movement on the sentence string,
but not the effects of covert movement. Movement is seen as an
operation where a particular feature is checked by a functional head
(Chomsky 1995). One approach to covert movement is that only the
relevant feature needs to move, since there is no need for the others
to do so. In particular, phonological features should not move at
all. In pre-Minimalist terms, this means that overt movement may be
phrasal, but covert movement has to be head movement. However,
research has indicated that full phrasal covert movement may be
necessary as well (Kennedy 1997, Pesetsky 2000). Recent work by
Chomsky (2000, 2001) suggests, though, that feature checking can take
place at long distance via the Agree relation, and does not have to
trigger movement. This, then, eliminates the need for covert feature
movement. An alternative approach is to say that all movement involves
phrases. The effect of this is to eliminate head movement (see work
such as Koopman and Szabolsci 2000). They have suggested that head
movement can be replaced by remnant movement, where a phrase is moved
which has had material extracted from it. These two approaches are
represented by works in this volume.

Chapter 2: Raising without infinitives and the role of agreement
(Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou)

The authors of this chapter argue that Case and agreement are not
linked, as has been previously assumed. The assumption under Principle
and Parameters theory was that thematic-roles were only assigned if
the relevant phrase was Case-checked (Chomsky 1981). Alexiadou and
Anagnostopoulou cite examples from Greek subjunctives where raising is
allowed, but there is still full agreement in the base position of the
raised phrase. The intermediate positions are only filled as a result
of the requirement that subject position be syntactically filled (the
Extended Projection Principle - EPP). They argue that the EPP is
related to agreement, and that Case is related to the present of
semantic tense (indicated by independent time reference).

Chapter 3: Prosodic diagnostics for remnant AP movement in Polish

This contribution argues that a distinction should be made between
head movement and remnant movement, contrary to an approach like that
of Koopman and Szabolsci (2000). Banski uses Polish data to show that
prosodic tests can distinguish the two. Specifically, when the
agreement clitic in a copular construction hosts a head, both
penultimate and antepenultimate stress are possible - this is the case
if the copular itself is hosted. If it hosts a phrase, only
antepenultimate stress is possible, as is the case when the predicate
adjective is hosted. Some additional arguments are supplied in support
of this argument. For instance, we expect only a phrase to be fronted,
since the head would have to cross the copular verb, in violation of
movement constraints:

(1) *[A-cl [copular [AP t/A]]]

Chapter 4: Remnant stranding and the theory of Movement (Barbiers)

Chomsky (2000, 2001) proposes that movement may only take place to the
left edge of functionally complete constituents (called phases). For
Chomsky, the constituents that are phrases are vP and CP. Barbiers
argues on the contrary that not all clausal complements are
phases. The phenomenon under consideration is remnant stranding as
illustrated below:

(2) a. [Daar op] heeft Ed t gezeten.
 There on has Ed t sat
 Ed sat on it
 b. [Daar] heeft Ed [op] gezeten.
 There has Ed on sat

The full PP is fronted in (2a), but only its complement in (2b), thus
leaving behind a remnant PP. This may only take place to matrix vPs,
but only to those that dominate factive complement clauses. As a
result, factives must be possible landing-sites for movement. This
entails that they are phases. Propositional clauses, on the other
hand, do not allow stranding. Therefore, they cannot be phases.

Chapter 5: VOS in Portuguese: arguments against an analysis in terms
of remnant movement (Costa)

The VOS order in Portuguese can contain an intonation break, but does
not have to. Costa argues that, where there is no intonation break,
the subject is thematic; if there is such a break, the subject is
non-thematic. There are two ways of deriving the former. One is a
scrambling approach, where the object is scrambled and the verb moves
to I. The alternative is a remnant movement approach, where either a
VP or TP is moved over the subject. Evidence is presented against a
remnant movement analysis. For instance this VP or TP constituent
resists fronting or clefting when the verb form is complex. Also the
object takes scope over, and therefore must c-command, the
subject. This is the case under the scrambling analysis, but not under
the remnant movement version.

Chapter 6: Against remnant VP-movement (Fanselow)

Fanselow looks at data in German where there is incomplete VP fronting:

(3) Geschenkt hat sie dem Fritz ein Buch.
 Sent have they to Fritz a book

Based on a configurational theory of theta-role assignment (such as
Hale and Keyser 1993), free constituent order is seen as a process of
merger, not of movement. Since theta-roles need not be checked before
LF, it does not matter that arguments are not in thematic positions at
Spell-Out. Some more concrete evidence against a remnant movement
account is that the scrambling process necessary to empty the VP of
all but its head is associated with particular semantic, pragmatic and
syntactic features, none of which are exhibited by the construction
under investigation. Also, elements that are stranded are usually
islands to further extraction. Fanselow demonstrates that this is not
the case with ''stranded'' elements in his examples.

Chapter 7: Remnant movement and partial deletion (Hinterh�lzl)

Hinterh�lzl argues that there is an alternative way of deriving
apparent partial movement phenomena which are frequently derived by
remnant movement nowadays, and that is partial deletion. For instance
the example in (4a) can be derived as in (4b):

(4) a. Gelesen hat Hans das Buch.
 Read has Hans the book
 b. [(Das Buch) gelesen] hat Hans [das Buch (gelesen)]

What is happening here is that the whole VP has been copied and
fronted (according to the copy theory of movement of Chomsky
1993). Then the direct object is deleted from the fronted position,
and the verb is deleted from the base position. The author argues that
both mechanisms are available to grammar. Remnant movement is allowed
only when pied-piping is unavailable, which Hinterh�lzl argues is the
case in restructuring. Partial deletion is allowed when pied-piping is
available, as it is in PP extraposition from NP.

Chapter 8: Derivations and complexity filters (Koopman)

As was noted in the Introduction, Koopman and Szabolsci (2000) argue
for a remnant movement approach to head-movement. Koopman admits that
this approach is shown to be too powerful, in that it allows too many
possible derivations cross-linguistically, some of which are not
attested. She argues that this is due to complexity filters. These
impose a maximum size on fronted constituents for each language. This
is shown to explain why Dutch restructuring infinitives are allowed to
invert when there are two verbs, but not when there are three - the
same is not found in similar languages like German and Hungarian.

Chapter 9: Feature movement or agreement at a distance? (Lasnik)

Lasnik argues for a feature movement-based approach to pseudo-gapping
and sluicing:

(5) a. You might not believe me but you will Bob.
 b. Someone left, but I don't know who.

In both cases we can argue that ''Bob'' and ''who'' have moved
overtly, leaving behind a phrase to delete. The question arises what
happens with verb movement in the clauses. Lasnik proposes that overt
feature movement has taken place. This though would result in a
phonologically defective phrase marker if it were left behind, but
this is allowed because the material is subsequently deleted, thus
removing the problem.

Chapter 10: Two types of remnant movement (M�ller)

M�ller looks at what he calls primary and secondary remnant movement.
Typical examples of the two types are incomplete category fronting
(primary) and negative NP-preposing (secondary, according to an
analysis by Kayne). The basic difference for M�ller is that the
operations underlying primary movement are all feature driven, while
for secondary ones it is only the first. He accounts for these
differences through an Optimality Syntax approach, which sees feature
checking as a process whereby shape is conserved. Thus, secondary
remnant movement is a repair strategy to preserve linear order.

Chapter 11: On feature movement (Nakamura)

Null operator movement (NOM) is seen as a feature movement process
(following Takahaski 1997). Standard NOM is taken to be from
non-subject positions, since the trace (copy) of NOM will not be
properly governed, at least in English. Nakamura cites examples from
Niuean where this is the case, though. The features is argued to be
head-adjoined to C which entails correctly that NOM is subject to
island effects.

Chapter 12: CP-pied-piping and remnant IP movement in long distance
wh-movement (Noonan)

The Complementizer in Irish associated with wh-movement (notated aL)
is argued to be an agreement particle, not a fully fledged lexical
item. Specifically it reflects agreement with a shifted object:

(6) Cen paisti a chreideann Sean [a d'imreodh __ ansea]?
 Which children aL believes Sean aL play-COND here
 Which children does Sean believe would play here?

The particle in the ''play'' clause is uncontroversially caused by
movement of ''which children''. The one in the ''believes'' clause is
associated instead with object shift of the CP. Noonan argues that all
objects undergo covert (at least) shift to check Case, even
clauses. Other constructions such as partial wh-movement are argued to
exhibit similar properties.

Chapter 13: Phrasal movement in Hebrew adjectives and possessives

Finally, Sichel uses the approach of Kayne (1994) to argue that Hebrew
N-initial orders within Noun Phrases are derived through leftward
movement of various types. When there are attributive adjectives, they
appear in a mirror image order to that in English:

(7) ha-mexonit ha-aduma ha-gdok
 the-car the-red the-big
 ''the big, red car''
This is argued to be derived through pied-piping of NPs and
DPs. Consider next construct state and free state genitives:

(8) a. tmumet ha-xamaniot
 pictures the-sunflowers
 ''the pictures of the sunflowers''
 b. ha-be'ayot Sel ha-plitim
 the-problems of the-refugees

In the case of the construct state, (8a), there is head movement of N
to D. In the free state version, this is not possible because of the
presence of ''Sel'' which is analysed at a Determiner. Here, the
genitive is argued to be base-generated within NP, raised, and then
the remnant NP is raised over that.


My overall feelings are that this is a valuable addition to the
literature on movement theory. There are a variety of views presented
in the volume, with no one theoretical position in ascendancy. There
are interesting arguments for keeping head movement in particular
(Banski, Costa). Banski's is an important paper in that it proposes
tests to distinguish remnant movement from other classes of movement
(whether or not we assume head movement is possible). This is
something that is necessary if we are to keep syntax Minimalist, so
this paper fills a vital function.

Chomsky's argument from 2000, 2001 that head movement is a PF process,
not a syntactic one, is mentioned in a footnote, but is not discussed
further. A discussion of this issue, in my opinion, would have made
the volume even stronger, but it is a minor point.

The papers on remnant movement are well argued, in particular
Koopman's contribution where she compares alternative approaches, and
shows that RM is a superior approach to take for the data she

An interesting comparison can be made between Fanselow's and M�ller's
papers. They come to a completely different conclusion on the same
theoretical point, namely whether remnant movement is a justifiable
analysis of partial constituent fronting. Fanselow argues that it is
not since the scrambling operation on the object NP needed to allow RM
to take place is not itself justified (because of the lack of
semantic, etc. properties attributed to scrambling). M�ller, on the
other hand, comes to the opposite conclusion on the same point. It
would have been interesting to see M�ller's comments on Fanselow's

I have a question mark about Barbiers' paper, in that the evidence is
slightly confusing. His arguments was that factive clauses are phases,
while propositional clauses are not. The argument is weakened by the
fact that material may not be stranded at the left edge of
factives. He argues that this is because factives are adjuncts, but
this then would entail that they are strong islands. This is not the
case as Melvold (1991) argues.

The most interesting conclusion that I see from this collection is
that all of these movement processes (remnant movement, head movement,
feature movement, phrasal covert movement) may be justified for
different data. What, then, are the consequences for the theory of
Universal Grammar of this conclusion? What does it mean specifically
for the Minimalist program? It appears, on the face of it, that it is
a problem, since many movement operations are attested that produce
similar results. As Brody (1995) argues concerning the presence of
both the Move operation and the Chain concept in Minimalism, this can
be seen as a weakness in the theory. Whether we can distinguish such
operations, as argued by Banski and Costa, is a question that needs to
be addressed in further research.


Brody, Michael (1995) Lexico-logical Form: A radically minimalist
theory. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Chomsky, Noam (1981) Lectures on Government and Binding. Berlin:
Mouton de Gruyter.

Chomsky, Noam (1993) A minimalist program for linguistic theory. In
The view from Building 20. Hale and Keyser (eds.). Cambridge, Mass.:
MIT Press. 1-52.

Chomsky, Noam (1995) Categories and transformations. In The Minimalist
Program. Chomsky (ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 219-394.

Chomsky, Noam (2000) Minimalist inquiries: the framework. In Step by
step: Essays in minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik. Martin,
Micheals and Uriagereka (eds.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 89-155.

Chomsky, Noam (2001) Derivation by phase. ms. MIT.

Hale, Ken and Samual J. Keyser (1993) On argument structure and the
lexical expression of syntactic relations. In The view from Building
20. Hale and Keyser (eds.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 53-109.

Kayne, Richard (1994) The antisymmetry of syntax. Cambridge, Mass.:
MIT Press.

Kennedy, Christopher (1997) Antecedent-Contained Deletion and the
syntax of quantification. In Linguistic Inquiry 28(4). 662-688.

Koopman, Hilda and Szabolsci (2000) Verbal complexes. Cambridge,
Mass.: MIT Press.

Melvold, Janis (1991) Factivity and definiteness. In MIT Working
Papers in Linguistics 15. Cheng and Demirdache (eds.). 97-117.

Pesetsky, David (2000) Phrasal movement and its kin. Cambridge, Mass.:
MIT Press.

Takahashi, Daiko (1997) Move-F and null operator movement. In The
Linguistic Review 14. 181-196. 


The reviewer's research interests include phrase structure, syntax and
semantics of adverbials, and interfaces between syntax and semantics
and between syntax and morphology.
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