LINGUIST List 15.1005

Thu Mar 25 2004

Diss: Syntax: Sifaki: 'EPP Satisfiers...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. evisifaki, EPP Satisfiers: Verb-Initial Orders in Greek

Message 1: EPP Satisfiers: Verb-Initial Orders in Greek

Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 04:12:05 -0500 (EST)
From: evisifaki <>
Subject: EPP Satisfiers: Verb-Initial Orders in Greek

Institution: University of York, UK
Program: Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Evi Sifaki

Dissertation Title: EPP Satisfiers: Verb-Initial Orders in Greek

Linguistic Field: Syntax 

Subject Language: Greek (code: GRK)

Dissertation Director 1: George Tsoulas
Dissertation Director 2: Kook-Hee Gil
Dissertation Director 3: Anna Roussou

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis explores to what extent the narrow syntactic component
(NS) is perfect. To support this hypothesis, the present study looks
into detail on the type of featural requirement the Extended
Projection Principle (EPP) represents. Evidence towards the direction
that EPP can no longer express the requirement that a certain position
in the clausal architecture (SpecIP) is 'reserved' for DP-lexical
subjects, is brought in from English locative inversion paradigms,
imperatives, and subjectless constructions which are unable to account
for the deletion of the EPP-feature through movement of the
subject. Another group of languages that systematically raises
questions on the mode of EPP-satisfaction is that of Null-Subject
Languages (NSLs) which have the option of allowing for null subjects
and moreover display at least one type of subject inverted order
(i.e., VSO, VOS). In addition, NSLs do not display any D(efiniteness)
R(estriction) effects, indication that points towards the absence of
overt or covert expletives in the system of these languages. For this
reason the only mode of EPP-satisfaction that concerns us in this
thesis is Move/Merge XP.

The fact that various XPs (i.e. PPs, VPs, etc.) may appear in SpecIP,
forces us to reconsider the featural requirement EPP expresses
(i.e. as a D-feature in I). It is therefore argued that EPP is a more
generalised feature. Ado(a)pting theoretical assumptions entertained
in Holmberg (2000), I test the hypothesis that EPP comprises a D and a
P(honological) feature. Therefore, I assume that for EPP to be
deleted, a phonologically overt syntactic category needs to bear an
interpretable D-feature, in order to raise to SpecIP to satisfy both
features in one go.

This more general status of the EPP is theoretically supported by
recent Minimalist advances (Chomsky 2002) through which EPP is viewed
as the only formal trigger for movement in NS. Additional theoretical
arguments that support the more general requirement EPP expresses are
derived from recent assumptions which associate EPP-driven movement
with discourse-related/semantic effects (cf. Chomsky 2002). I argue,
in line with Chomsky (2002), that even though only syntactic features
are allowed to operate in NS, yet the expressions present in the
derivation may receive an appropriate semantic interpretation (edge
phenomena/topic, focus, specific, etc.) by the Semantic Component (SC)
simply by being dislocated for EPP-satisfaction reasons.This
assumption implies that NS facilitates operations of SC and PC simply
by placing elements in such positions in the clausal skeleton that
receive an appropriate semantic/prosodic interpretation by the
relevant components. The present study also proposes that EPP may be
present in every single functional projection, since it is the only
feature that induces movement in NS.

The empirical basis to test the above theoretical assumptions is
offered by verb-initial orders in NSLs, and more specifically from
Greek. These verb-initial orders in Greek are viewed as the result of
VP-Preposing for EPP-satisfaction reasons, an analysis that accounts
not only for the different word orders, but also for the variability
in focus/stress assignment patterns attested in these orders. In
effect, I dispense with the generation of Topic and Focus Projections
in the clausal architecture, and I argue that no discourse-related
features are allowed to drive operations in syntax, thus, allowing NS
to retain a certain degree of autonomy.

In the last chapter it is shown that verb-initial impersonal
constructions in NSLs question the mode of satisfaction of the
D-feature of the EPP. Therefore, the present work tentatively
concludes that EPP may simply represent a P-feature.
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