* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
LINGUIST List logo Eastern Michigan University Wayne State University *
* People & Organizations * Jobs * Calls & Conferences * Publications * Language Resources * Text & Computer Tools * Teaching & Learning * Mailing Lists * Search *
* *
LINGUIST List 21.272

Sat Jan 16 2010

Diss: Syntax: Wallenberg: 'Antisymmetry and the Conservation of...'

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>


To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
Directory
        1.    Joel Wallenberg, Antisymmetry and the Conservation of C-command: Scrambling and phrase structure in synchronic and diachronic perspective

Message 1: Antisymmetry and the Conservation of C-command: Scrambling and phrase structure in synchronic and diachronic perspective
Date: 15-Jan-2010
From: Joel Wallenberg <joel.wallenberggmail.com>
Subject: Antisymmetry and the Conservation of C-command: Scrambling and phrase structure in synchronic and diachronic perspective
E-mail this message to a friend

Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Joel Constine Wallenberg

Dissertation Title: Antisymmetry and the Conservation of C-command: Scrambling and phrase structure in synchronic and diachronic perspective

Dissertation URL: http://repository.upenn.edu/edissertations/77/

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Anthony S Kroch

Dissertation Abstract:

Holmberg's Generalization (Holmberg 1986) was originally stated to describe
the 'object shift' phenomena found in the modern Scandinavian languages.
This dissertation argues that object shift is merely a subcase of
scrambling, a type of adjunction, and that Holmberg's Generalization is a
subcase of a universal constraint, the 'Generalized Holmberg Constraint'
(GHC), which prohibits leftward scrambling across c-commanding functional
heads. The existence of such a constraint turns out to have ramifications
far beyond the analysis of scrambling itself, and the predictions it makes
ultimately form an extended argument in favor of a universal antisymmetric
approach to phrase structure (Kayne 1994).

The most important evidence for the GHC comes from diachronic data. The
study presents quantitative data from the history of Yiddish and English to
show that, in cases where a language undergoes major changes in its clause
structure, the GHC remains an active and stable constraint in the language,
indicating its status as a universal. Once a phrase structure change
begins, the resulting variation within a single speech community, and even
within individuals, immediately shows the effect of the GHC on scrambling.

The latter portion of the study argues that the GHC is not merely a
constraint on scrambling, but rather a much more general constraint on the
way syntactic computations progress, the 'Conservation of C-Command.' The
Conservation of C-Command finds a natural cross-linguistic formulation only
if we adopt an antisymmetric approach to languages with head-final phrase
structures. This approach turns out to have consequences for a variety of
other problems of syntactic analysis, including the West Germanic Verb
(Projection) Raising construction and Heavy NP Shift.

This dissertation accounts for the typology of scrambling found in the
world's languages and during periods of language change, and shows that the
way in which scrambling is constrained provides insight into basic
properties of phrase structure. In addition, it constitutes an extended
argument for the autonomy of syntax: while prosodic and pragmatic
considerations favor leftward scrambling in a number of contexts, a
language's inventory of functional heads puts a strict upper bound on
whether scrambling can respond to these considerations.



Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue




Please report any bad links or misclassified data

LINGUIST Homepage | Read LINGUIST | Contact us

NSF Logo

While the LINGUIST List makes every effort to ensure the linguistic relevance of sites listed
on its pages, it cannot vouch for their contents.