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Book Information


Title: Provocative Syntax
Written By: Philip Branigan
Series Title: Linguistic Inquiry Monographs

Chomsky showed that no description of natural language syntax would be
adequate without some notion of movement operations in a syntactic
derivation. It now seems likely that such movement transformations are
formally simple operations, in which a single phrase is displaced from its
original position within a phrase marker, but after more than fifty years
of generative theorizing, the mechanics of syntactic movement are still
murky and controversial. In "Provocative Syntax", Phil Branigan examines
the forces that drive syntactic movement and offers a new synthetic model
of the basic movement operation by reassembling in a novel way isolated
ideas that have been suggested elsewhere in the literature. The unifying
concept is the operation of provocation, which occurs in the course of
feature valuation when certain probes seek a value for their unvalued
features by identifying a goal. Provocation forces the generation of a copy
of the goal; the copy originates outside the original phrase marker and
must then be introduced into it. In this approach, movement is not forced
by the need for extra positions; extra positions are generated because
movement is taking place.

After presenting the central proposal and showing its implementation in the
analyses of various familiar cases of syntactic movement, Branigan
demonstrates the effects of provocation in a variety of inversion
constructions, examines interactions between head and phrasal provocation
within the “left periphery” of Germanic embedded clauses, and describes the
details of chain formation and successive cyclic movement in a provocation

Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: MIT Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0262014998
ISBN-13: 9780262014991
Pages: 186
Prices: U.S. $ 60

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0262515598
ISBN-13: 9780262515597
Pages: 186
Prices: U.S. $ 30