LINGUIST List 14.2938

Tue Oct 28 2003

Diss: Syntax: Abels: 'Successive...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. abels, Successive Cyclicity

Message 1: Successive Cyclicity

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 17:58:52 +0000
From: abels <>
Subject: Successive Cyclicity

Institution: University of Connecticut
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Klaus Abels 

Dissertation Title: Successive Cyclicity, Anti-Locality, and
Adposition Stranding

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Syntax

Dissertation Director 1: Zeljko Boskovic
Dissertation Director 2: Howard Lasnik
Dissertation Director 3: William Snyder

Dissertation Abstract: 

This thesis studies movement operations in natural languages. It is
observed that certain heads �' C�, v�, and, in most languages, P� �'
cannot be stranded; the complements of these heads never move without
pied-piping the heads in question. This is surprising since (a)
extraction out of CP, vP, and PP is possible in principle and (b) the
complement categories of these heads, TP, VP, and DP or PP, are
movable. Evidence for the more contentious of these claims is provided
in chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 4 also investigates the ramifications of
these facts for theories of adposition stranding. All heads in
question have independently been argued to project what Chomsky (2000)
calls 'phases'. The generalization is that phase heads cannot be

Chapter 2 derives the ban against stranding phase heads within a
derivational model of the grammar. The effect of phases on successive
cyclicity is the following: To be licit, movement out of a phase must
pass through the specifier position of that phase. The idea of the
account is that every step of movement must establish a relation
between the moved item and some other element in the phrase marker
which is in a well-defined sense closer than the relation they were in
prior to movement. Movement from complement to specifier position
within the same phrase never achieves this. In fact, any movement
within the same phrase is in effect too short to achieve this. There
are then well-defined anti-locality effects, which fallout from
considerations of local economy. The ban against stranding phase
heads now follows. A category can leave its containing phase only by
passing through its specifier position. Since complements cannot reach
the specifier position in the same phrase, the complements of phase
heads cannot move away.

Head Movement is prohibited by the same economy based
reasoning. Chapter 5 focuses on Head Movement, advocating a version of
Brody's (2000) Mirror Theory. In contrast to standard theories of Head
Movement, Mirror Theory predicts what looks like downward Head
Movement to be possible. Data from VP-ellipsis in English show that
this prediction of Mirror Theory is correct.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue