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LINGUIST List 17.1674

Sat Jun 03 2006

Diss: Syntax: Drury: 'Alternative Directions for Minimalist Inquiry...'

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        1.    John Drury, Alternative Directions for Minimalist Inquiry: Expanding and contracting phases of derivation


Message 1: Alternative Directions for Minimalist Inquiry: Expanding and contracting phases of derivation
Date: 02-Jun-2006
From: John Drury <john.drurymcgill.ca>
Subject: Alternative Directions for Minimalist Inquiry: Expanding and contracting phases of derivation


Institution: University of Maryland
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: John E. Drury

Dissertation Title: Alternative Directions for Minimalist Inquiry: Expanding and contracting phases of derivation

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Norbert Hornstein
Howard Lasnik
Colin Phillips
Juan Uriagereka
Amy Weinberg

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation develops novel derivational mechanics for characterizing
the syntactic component of human language — Tree Contraction Grammar (TCG).
TCG falls within a general class of derivationally-oriented minimalist
approaches, constituting a version of a Multiple Spell Out (MSO-)system
(Chomsky 1999, Uriagereka 1999, 2002). TCG posits a derivational WORKSPACE
restricting the size of structures that can be active at a given stage of
derivation. As structures are expanded, workspace limitations periodically
force contractions of the span of structure visible to operations. These
expansion-contraction dynamics are shown to have implications for our
understanding of locality of dependencies, specifically regarding
successive cyclic movement. The mechanics of TCG rely on non-standard
assumptions about the direction of derivation — structure assembly is
required to work top-down. TCG draws a key idea from TAG; that is,
recursive structure ought to play a direct role in delimiting the range of
possible interactions between syntactic elements in phases of derivation.
TAG factors complex structures into non-recursive elementary trees and
recursive auxiliary trees that are combinable via TAG's two
operations(substitution/adjoining). In TCG the expansion of structure in
the workspace is similarly limited to containing only non-recursive
stretches of structure. In the course of a derivation, encountering
'repeated elements' in the expanding dominance ordering forces
contractions of the workspace (understood to happen in potentially
different ways depending on the properties of repeated elements).In certain
circumstances, repeated elements are identified, allowing information from
earlier stages of derivation to be carried over to later stages,
underwriting our (novel) view of successive cyclicity. Recursive structure
is retained in the global 'output' structure, upon parts of which we
understand the workspace to be superimposed.



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