LINGUIST List 21.272|
Sat Jan 16 2010
Diss: Syntax: Wallenberg: 'Antisymmetry and the Conservation of...'
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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
From: Joel Wallenberg <joel.wallenberggmail.com>
Subject: Antisymmetry and the Conservation of C-command: Scrambling and phrase structure in synchronic and diachronic perspective
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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/
Anthony S Kroch
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.
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