LINGUIST List 20.2583|
Wed Jul 22 2009
Review: Syntax: Sturgeon (2008)
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The Left Periphery
Message 1: The Left Periphery
From: Olena Tsurska <e_tvhelenyahoo.com>
Subject: The Left Periphery
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AUTHOR: Sturgeon, Anne
TITLE: The Left Periphery
SUBTITLE: The Interaction of Syntax, Pragmatics and Prosody in Czech
SERIES: Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 129
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
Olena Tsurska, Department of English, Arizona State University, PhD candidate
In this book, Anne Sturgeon examines two main types of the left dislocation (LD)
constructions in Czech: Contrastive Left Dislocation (CLD) and Hanging Topic
Left Dislocation (HTLD). She analyzes the similarities and differences between
these constructions and provides a unified account of left dislocation, which
links syntax, pragmatics, and prosody. The book is divided into six chapters.
In Chapter 1, Sturgeon briefly introduces the left dislocation constructions,
CLD and HTLD, discussed in the book. The examples below illustrate the two
structures under consideration and their linked elements: the left dislocate,
the resumptive pronoun, and the associated gap in the clause (pp. 1-2).
1. Ale tu divku1 ... tu1 znám t1 určité. CLD
but that girl.ACC that.ACC know.1SG for-sure
'But that girl ... I know her for sure...'
2. Anička1? Té1 se nic nestalo t1. HTLD
Anička.NOM that.DAT REFL-CL nothing NEG-happened
''Anička? Nothing happened to her.''
Sturgeon further provides a brief overview of the previous research on left
dislocation in German, Dutch, and other languages. Particularly, she points out
two major questions that many researchers have focused their studies on:
''whether the left dislocate is base-generated at the left periphery or moves
there and how the resumptive is introduced into the structure'' (p. 2). Sturgeon
presents her arguments with respect to these questions and claims that CLD
constructions in Czech are generated through movement and HTLD constructions
through base generation. As for the resumption, Sturgeon points out that her
account will involve the ''syntax-prosody interface'' (p.3). Sturgeon also
mentions the goals and frameworks of the previous research work on Czech and
briefly discusses how her present work is related to the previous body of
research. Sturgeon finishes Chapter 1 with a discussion of the book's organization.
Chapter 2 focuses on the syntax of the left periphery in Czech. Sturgeon first
establishes the basic assumptions about Czech clausal architecture, on which she
bases her further discussions in the book. One of the most interesting
assumptions made by Sturgeon is the idea that, contrary to other approaches,
most left periphery elements appear within the IP (inflection phrase) in the
Czech clause. Sturgeon dismisses the idea of an expanded CP (complementiser
phrase) for Czech and argues that the CP domain in this language is utilized
only in certain cases of XP (any full phrase) dislocation (e.g. CLD and HTLD)
and wh-movement. In other cases, CP projection is avoided for reasons of economy
of representation, and [Spec, IP] (specifier of the inflection phrase) is the
left peripheral target for A-bar movements. Sturgeon further argues that two
main head positions in Czech clauses are v (head of the light verb phrase) and I
(head of the inflection phrase). The lexical verb, according to Sturgeon,
appears in the lowest v, and she provides evidence for this by examining the
positions of Czech verb phrase adverbs, middlefield XPs (both of which adjoin to
vP), and verb phrase ellipsis. Second position clitics in Czech occupy I.
Sturgeon argues that [Spec, IP] primarily hosts XPs that function as narrow
focus or contrastive topic. If these XPs are not present in the structure, then
the highest XP in the middlefield of the clause moves to [Spec, IP] to satisfy
the EPP (extended projection principle) feature on I and gets interpreted as a
topic of the sentence. Sturgeon finishes this chapter with a discussion of A-bar
movement in Czech and establishes that, in addition to wh-movement and focus,
contrastive topicalization is also an instance of operator-variable A-bar
movement and exhibits the same characteristics, such as reconstruction, long
distance movement, and island effects. The evidence presented in this chapter
allows Sturgeon to conclude that the main left periphery A-bar position in Czech
is in fact [Spec, IP].
Chapter 3 is a detailed discussion of the syntax of left dislocation
constructions in Czech. Sturgeon presents a more detailed overview of CLD and
two varieties of HTLD constructions: HTLD I, which, like CLD, has a left edge
coreferent resumptive pronoun, and HTLD II, which has a second position clitic
resumptive. Sturgeon argues, following Grohmann (2003), that CLD constructions
in Czech exhibit ''connectivity effects between the clause-internal gap and the
left dislocated element'', which suggests that ''CLD-ed XPs move from a
clause-internal position to a position at the left edge'' (p. 66). According to
the syntactic account of the CLD constructions established in this chapter, the
left dislocated element moves from its base position in the clause through
[Spec, IP] to the specifier position of the functional projection inside the CP.
Sturgeon calls this projection TopP (topic phrase). The resumptive pronoun in
[Spec, IP] is a spelled out copy of the left dislocated element. The connection
between the moved XP and the resumptive pronoun is further supported by the
mandatory grammatical gender matching between these two elements.
Sturgeon further argues that, contrary to CLD, both types of HTLD constructions
do not move, but are base-generated in a clause-peripheral position, since there
is no evidence of the reconstruction of the hanging topic to a clause-internal
position. As for the syntactic position of HTLD-ed elements, Sturgeon shows that
HTLD and CLD constructions can co-occur, but both HTLD I and II obligatorily
precede CLD and more than one hanging topic can occur at the left periphery.
Thus, Sturgeon proposes that HTLD-ed elements are base-generated in a position
above the TopP. After that, HTLD enters into a binding relationship with a
resumptive element inside the clause.
In Chapter 4, Sturgeon focuses primarily on the discourse functions of the left
dislocated elements. Using Büring's (2003) framework for pragmatic analysis, she
establishes that CLD constructions in Czech exhibit contrastive topic
interpretation. This conclusion is supported by the native speakers' preference
for CLD constructions in contexts where a contrastive topic interpretation is
available. Following Gregory and Michaelis's (2001) methodology, Sturgeon argues
that the function of HLTD constructions is to promote their discourse referents
to a topic status. One of the pragmatic similarities between CLD and HTLD
constructions is that both have discourse referents that have been previously
mentioned and are, thus, familiar. But the discourse referents of HTLD persist
in the following discourse, while those of CLD constructions do not. Sturgeon
points out that these differences between CLD and HTLD support Gregory and
Michaelis's (2001) argument about the two-fold nature of topicality: ''a
connection to the previous and following contexts'' (p. 96). Both CLD and HTLD
exhibit the first notion, i.e. both of these constructions present familiar
information, but only HTLD exhibits ''the perseverance [of the familiar elements]
in the discourse'' (p. 96).
In Chapter 5, Sturgeon discusses the syntax of resumption in CLD constructions
and presents her analysis of the motivation for the spell-out of resumptive
pronouns. As mentioned earlier, CLD is generated through the discourse-motivated
movement of the dislocated element through [Spec, IP] to the higher position in
the left periphery. Sturgeon uses Copy and Delete Theory of Movement (Chomsky
1995) in this analysis and assumes that lower copies of the chain get deleted at
PF (phonetic form). While it may be clear why the highest copy in TopP is
pronounced, it is necessary to explain why the resumptive element in [Spec, IP]
is also spelled out, though partially. Sturgeon follows Landau (2005) and argues
that the spell-out of the two highest copies in the CLD chain is due to the
phonological requirements. Sturgeon assumes that the top copy is pronounced due
to the default ''Pronounce highest'' requirement on pronunciation in movement
chains (p. 114). Sturgeon further demonstrates that the CT (contrastive topic)
intonational contour falls obligatorily on a resumptive element in [Spec, IP].
She assumes that null elements cannot bear a prosodic rise, and therefore, the
resumptive has to be spelled out. Finally, it is only the pronoun and not the
whole left dislocated XP that gets spelled out in [Spec, IP], and Sturgeon
argues that due to economy constraints, the spelled-out resumptive has to match
''either the syntactic or the semantic category of the copy of the CLD-ed XP'' (p.
125). In case of left dislocated DPs (demonstrative phrases), the matching is
syntactic, and the phi-features (person and number) of the dislocate are also
spelled out on the copy in [Spec, IP]. However, for left dislocated properties
and propositions, the matching is semantic, and typically, the demonstrative
pronoun matches the denotational type of the dislocate.
Chapter 6 outlines major arguments presented in the book and presents general
conclusions of the study.
This book greatly contributes to the current body of research on the syntax of
Slavic languages and left dislocation constructions. One of the main
contributions is a very detailed analysis of left dislocation constructions in
Czech which have not been studied previously. Sturgeon presents a large amount
of Czech data obtained from the Czech National Corpus, Google searches, and
native speaker consultants. These data allow Sturgeon to illustrate two types of
left dislocation constructions in Czech, which differ in a way they are
generated. One type, CLD, is moved to the left periphery position from a
clause-internal position, and another type, HTLD, is base-generated in the left
periphery and does not involve any movement.
Another valuable feature of this work is that, while much research on Slavic
languages is conducted from the functionalist perspective, this book analyzes a
specific linguistic phenomenon in a Slavic language using the formal generative
approach. Using the Minimalist framework, Sturgeon presents a detailed account
of the structure of a Czech clause and left periphery domain. One of the key
arguments that Sturgeon presents in the book is the idea that Czech left
peripheral positions are located mostly in the IP domain. Sturgeon presents
evidence that the verb in Czech stays within the vP, second position clitics
occupy the head of IP, and the discourse elements, such as topics, contrastive
topics, and foci, occupy [Spec, IP]. This analysis leads to a very large vP
domain, or middlefield, which is located between VP and IP. According to
Sturgeon, Czech allows scrambling of multiple arguments and adjuncts to
preverbal positions in the middlefield, and the ordering of scrambled XPs in
Czech is unrestricted.
Besides adding a new perspective to the existing literature on left dislocation,
Sturgeon's work presents an innovative account of the mechanism governing the
spell-out of the resumptive element in Czech left dislocation constructions.
Sturgeon links the syntactic structure of left dislocation constructions, their
discourse functions, and prosodic features, which leads her to a unique analysis
of the syntax of the resumptive in Czech. According to Sturgeon, the movement of
the CLD elements to the left periphery is motivated by their pragmatic function,
contrastive topicalization, and the spelling out of the left edge resumptive
element is due to the prosodic requirements of the contrastive topic discourse
function of CLD construction.
Sturgeon's clear and comprehensive study of the left dislocation in Czech will
be a valuable resource for Slavic linguists interested in studying similar
phenomena in other Slavic languages.
Büring, Daniel. 2003. On D-trees, beans and B-accents. _Linguistics and
Philosophy_ 26(5): 511-45.
Chomsky, Noam. 1995. _The Minimalist Program_. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Gregory, Michelle L. & Laura A. Michaelis. 2001. Topicalization and left
dislocation: A finctional opposition revisited. _Journal of Pragmatics_ 33(11):
Grohmann, Kleanthes. 2003. _Prolific domains: On the anti-locality of movement
dependencies_. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Landau, Idan. 2005. Chain resolution in V(P)-fronting. Ms, Ben Gurion University.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Olena Tsurska is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric/Composition and Linguistics and a
Teaching Associate at the Department of English at Arizona State University. She
is currently working on her dissertation entitled ''Sentential Negation in Slavic
Languages''. Her research interests include Minimalist Syntax, Slavic Historical
Linguistics, Left Periphery in Slavic Languages, and Linguistic Cycles.
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