This dissertation defends the existence of a type of movement that has so
far been considered not to be possible, namely, movement of a bare head to
a specifier position, over arbitrarily long distances. Head-to-spec
movement was indeed explicitly banned in previous models of syntactic
theory. However, its existence is unavoidable under Chomsky’s Bare Phrase
Structure hypothesis. This idea is explored in detail in the first chapter
of the dissertation, where it is proposed that all moved constituents land
on a specifier position, irrespective of their phrase structural status.
The result is a unified theory of movement that dispenses with the head
versus phrase dichotomy.
The hypothesis above is supported through case studies of three
constructions that have received very little attention in the literature.
Chapter two discusses predicate clefting in Spanish; chapter three,
infinitive focalisation in Hungarian; and chapter four, predicate clefting
in Hungarian. The common feature of these constructions is that a bare
infinitive is moved to the left periphery of the clause, in what appears to
be a case remnant predicate movement. It is shown, nonetheless, that a
remnant movement analysis cannot be correct, given that both Spanish and
Hungarian lack the means to create a remnant constituent in all the cases
where it would be required. Consequently, it is necessary to allow bare
heads to undergo run-of-the-mill A-bar movement, as predicted by the theory
developed in chapter one.
This dissertation is of interest to a general syntactic readership, as well
as to readers interested in the formal theory of movement, and in the
syntax of Spanish and Hungarian.