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Review of  The Structure of Coordination

Reviewer: Hana Skrabalova
Book Title: The Structure of Coordination
Book Author: José A. Camacho
Publisher: Kluwer
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard
Issue Number: 15.1503

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Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 22:21:30 +0200 (CEST)
From: Hana Skrabalova
Subject: The Structure of Coordination

Camacho, José (2003) The Structure of Coordination:
Conjunction and Agreement Phenomena in Spanish and Other
Languages, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Studies in Natural
Language and Linguistic Theory 57.

Hana Skrabalova, University of Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle.

This book analyzes the structure of coordination with
respect to the properties of conjuncts and the way
conjuncts interact with other categories outside
coordination (agreement and other grammatical
phenomena). A substantial amount of data are taken from
varieties of Spanish.

The book contains an introduction (chapter 1) and four
other chapters (chapter 2 to 5). In the introduction,
the author announces his proposals concerning the
structure of coordination: (i) one conjunct must c-
command the others (c-command asymmetry), (ii) each
conjunct should reflect the same structural properties
as if it were in a simplex sentence (licensing
symmetry), and (iii) coordination always involves a set
of sentential functional projections(cf. Chomsky 1957,
''Conjunction Reduction'').

In chapter 2, the authors deals with properties of
coordination and reviews different proposals concerning
the structure of coordination (Goodall 1987, Johannessen
1998, Höhle 1990, Munn 1993, etc.). First, he claims
that each conjunct is licensed in the same way as it
would be if it were not conjoined. Consequently, all
conjuncts must have the same syntactic features (cf.
Pullum & Zwicky's (1986) 'Law of Coordination of Likes')
and the same syntactic status. Therefore, the author
argues against proposals involving Conjunction Phrase,
because they assume that conjuncts are structurally
asymmetric. There follows a brief discussion of
asymmetric coordinations which are claimed not to
constitute evidence against the general symmetry of
conjuncts. The main discussion of asymmetries concerning
partial agreement and coordination of different
categories are postponed to chapters 4 and 5
respectively. Second, the author argues, following Munn
(1993), that one of the conjuncts should be structurally
higher and c-command the other conjunct. Finally, he
claims that all coordinations are interpreted
sententially. This claim is based on the following
observations: (1) Coordination and plural DPs differ in
their distribution and in their entailment: (i) contrary
to non conjoined bare NPs, conjoined bare NPs can appear
in preverbal subject position, and (ii) only conjoined
NPs, not plural DPs entail that each individual
participed in the event. (2) Sentential adverbs can
modifiy conjoined DPs, but not plural DPs. (3) Plural-
like categories corresponding to conjoined verbs,
adjectives, or adverbs are cross-linguistically absent.

In chapter 3, the author develops his proposal
concerning the structure of coordination. First, he
assumes that conjunctions are heads (cf. Johannessen
1998). Assuming also that coordinate structures are as
underspecified as possible (cf. Gazdar et al. 1985) and
that coordination is sentential in nature (cf. above),
he suggests ''conjunction be a sentential functional head
that has a propositional content'', represented by a
single feature (PROP) on the conjunction. To account for
the fact that coordination has the distribution of its
conjuncts, the author argues that conjunction copy
features from another functional category. Depending on
the position of the conjunction, a different functional
head will license the conjunction by giving it its
content: subject coordination will be licensed by
Inflection, cf.(1), while object coordination will be
license by Agr-o. The fact that each conjunct in (1) is
in the same structural position (Spec-IP) as it would be
in a simplex sentence is supposed to reflect the
assumption that a coordination of subjects is

(1) [IP DP1 [I' Co(tns,f...)[IP DP2[I' I (tns,f...)

Coordination of other categories than DPs is assumed to
have the same underlying structure, see (2a), but
differs with respect to the head X licensing the
conjunction (y).

(2) [XP Conjunct1 [X' y [XP Conjunct2 [X' X [...]]]]]

The author's main argument for a sentential analysis of
coordination comes from switch-reference phenomena.
Switch reference systems in languages like Hopi, Ono and
Mojave involve morphological markers that signal
coreference relation between arguments (usually
subjects) of a main clause and a subordinate clause.
Several researchers had observed parallelism between
coordination and switch reference (Hale & Jeanne 1976,
Haiman 1983). Hale & Jeanne (1976) note, for instance,
that switch reference (SR) markers in Hopi always adjoin
to inflected verbs, and that these markers are identical
to those used for coordination. The author proposes an
analysis of SR in Hopi and of comitative coordination in
Mojave where the fact that SR markers adjoin both to
inflected verbs and to conjunctions follows naturally
from his proposal that coordination is a sentential
functional projection. The author next endeavors to
corroborate his hypothesis: (i) heads cannot be
conjoined, and (ii) conjoined elements do not form a
constituent. Given coordination is generally assumed to
behave as a constituent, the last part of the chapter
deals with deriving the constituency effects (with
respect to movement, agreement and binding) without
coordination forming a constituent. In order to do that,
the author suggests that conjuncts are generated in
their surface position and that they are linked to a
silent phrase (little pro), which is the constituent
that undergoes movement, cf.(3):

(3) John(i)and Mary(j)seem pro(i+j)to have been called

The author argues that an argument in favor of a silent
phrase comes from the distribution of subject bare NPs
in Spanish. According to him, the fact that non
conjoined bare NPs are only licensed in postverbal
position, whereas conjoined bare NPs may appear in
preverbal explains if they are linked to a pro in
postverbal position (a position licensing bare NPs). The
subsequent analysis of coordination assumes that
coordination involves a chain between conjuncts and a
silent category. It also assumes that lexical categories
are categorial matrices, i.e. bundles of features
identified by a categorial label. In the typical case,
all the features appear together under the same matrix.
But the features can also be inserted in a different
syntactic position than the matrix (in checking
projections). Consequently, movement is viewed as an
operation by which a matrix fills its unspecified
values. In coordination, part of the features of the
chain are inserted in the lowest chain position and move
to the conjuncts. In the case of conjoined subjects, for
instance, agreement features of the conjoined DPs are
generated in the Spec-IP, while case features and theta-
role are inserted in the matrix of the silent category
(DPx), generated in Spec-VP. This category matches the
feature specifications of each conjunct: an important
assumption is that plurality is a sum of singularities
(SG, SG). The DPx moves to the Spec-IP where it fuses
with the matrix of the second conjunct (DP2). Fusing is
a partial copying since the categories are not
identical. The resulting matrix (DP2/x) will have its
theta-role and case specified. It will check the
features of the I and then move up to the specifier of
the conjunction and merge with the first conjunct (DP1).
The resulting matrix will check the features of the
conjunction, identical to I.

(4) a. Lucía y Yesi corren.
Lucia and Yesi run.
b. [yP [DP1 Lucia][y' y [IP [DP2 Yesi][I' I [VP
[DPx]corren ]]]]]
c. [yP [DP1(THETA,CASE,SG,3P)][y' y(TNS,NOM,SG,SG)
[VP [DPx(AGENT,NOM,SG,SG)]...]]]]]

In chapter 4, the author returns to agreement
asymmetries. First, he claims that partial agreement
(i.e. agreement with one conjunct only) shows in the non
canonical word orders. Second, he claims that conjoined
structures with partial agreement can be divided into
two types: those that behave as if agreement had no
interpretative consequences (PF agreement structures)
and those where agreement patterns do have
interpretative consequences (LF agreement structures).
Partial V-S agreement in Irish and Czech, as well as
clitic and adjectival agreement in Spanish are claimed
to be cases of PF agreement. On the contrary, partial V-S
agreement in Moroccan and Lebanese Arabic and in
Spanish, as well as copular and adjectival agreement in
Brazilian Portuguese are claimed to be cases of LF
agreement. The analysis of partial agreement (PA) is
based on the theory of categories and feature insertion
(cf. above). The author argues that LF PA involves
gapping in the second VP conjunct (cf. ABS's (1994)
clausal analysis of PA in Arabic) and that it is covert
agreement restricted to one of the specifiers in the
structure of coordination. Agreement features of the
verb of the first conjunct are generated in a functional
head F above XP. Therefore, the verb must move up to F
to have it matrix filled, cf. (5a). After Spell-Out, the
higher (i.e. closest) conjunct moves to the Spec-FP to
check agreement with the verb in F, cf. (5b). (The
analysis of gapping is dealt with in chapter 5).

(5) a. [FP [F' Vi [XP [VP DP1 ti ][X' and [XP [VP DP2 ei
[PP ...]][X' ...]]]]]]
b. [FP DP1 [F' Vi [XP [VP tDP1 ti ][X' and [XP [VP
DP2 ei [PP ...]][X' ..]]]]]]

As for PF PA, the author assumes Aoun & Benmamoun's
(1999) postsyntactic merger proposal and suggests that
before the derivation of coordination branches off to
the interpretative component the structural
configurations allow for plural antecedents.
Postsyntactically, the first conjunct will raise to the
specifier of the projection headed by the V, yielding
the PF agreement paradigm. The postsyntactic merger
analysis is applied also to partial dative agreement in
clitic doubling structures in Spanish.

Finally, the author proposes an analysis of PA with
nominal modifiers in Spanish. In Spanish, determiners
and prenominal adjectives cannot have full agreement,
though they can have scope over both conjuncts. The
author argues (against Longobardi 1994) that cases of
apparent NP coordination inside DP involve full DPs
coordinations with null structure licensed under
identity, cf.(6). More generally, the author claims that
the lowest category that can be conjoined inside DP is a
predicative phrase (PredP), as predicted by his
proposal that coordination affects functional categories
with predicational content. PA with prenominal elements
is therefore a regular agreement within the first

(6) [DP1 la supuesta imagen]y[DP2(D) (ADJ) reflejo]
the alleged image and (the)(alleged)reflexion

As for postnominal adjectives, the author suggests that
they agree in a higher position that coordination since
conjoined DPs and PPs displaying full number agreement
and partial gender agreement still may have scope over
both conjuncts, cf.(7). He thus introduces an agreement
projection above conjoined DPs/PPs which can also be a
scopal projection. Given the feature-insertion analysis
assumed for coordination, PA takes place between the
features of the lower head and the second conjunct,
whereas full agreement (FA) takes place where agreement
features are inserted in the higher head X (Agreement

(7) [[NP-M.SG] and [NP-F.SG]] ADJ-F.PL

The author concludes that coordination involves a
functional projection both in the DP and in the IP. The
difference is that the agreeing head in the IP case is a
verb, cf.(8a), and that it the DP case, it is an
adjective, cf.(8b).

(8) a. [IP DP1 [I' [and [IP DP2 [I' [Verb]]]]]]]
b. [XP X [YP DP1 [Y' [and [YP DP2 [Y' [ADJ]]]]]]]

Finally, the author extends his analysis with Agr Phrase
(XP) to double conjunction structures. He argues that
exclusive / distributive reading of these double
conjunctions structures is linked to the first
conjunction and these operators occupy the head Agr.

(9) [XP ni[YP DP1 [Y'[ni[YP DP2 [Y'[...]]]]]]]

In the last chapter, the author deals with asymmetric
coordinations involving two conjuncts of apparently
different categories (cf. Höhle (1990) for German).
Given his assumption that conjuncts must belong to like-
categories (cf. chapter 2), he argues that these
coordinations involve gapping. Following Zoerner (1995),
the author proposes that gapping and Right-Node-Raising
(RNR) involve conjunction of predicational projections.
Gapping is claimed to differ from DP coordination in
that it relates VPs in the specifiers of conjunction
nodes. As for RNR constructions, the authors suggest
that the shared object is not raised, but rather it is
complement of the second conjunct, since there are
constructions where only the structurally lower verb has
its selectional restrictions satisfied by the ''shared''

The book provides the reader with a wide range of
interesting data concerning clitics, nominal modifiers,
and PP coordination in Spanish. The idea of applying the
feature-insertion theory and matrix movement to
coordination is original. The proposal to introduce an
agreeing head above coordination allows in particular an
elegant account of cases of mixed agreement with
postnominal modifiers. An extended use of this head also
allows for a nice account of double conjunction
structures: despite of their formal identity, the
conjunctions are not structurally identical, since each
of them is a different head. This accounts for their
different syntactic distribution (before and between
conjuncts) and different semantic properties
(distributive and exclusive readings are due to the
first conjunction).

However, the whole proposal is based on two claims which
seem to me to be problematic. First, the claim that
conjuncts are licensed in the same way as if they were
not conjoined predicts for instance that collective
predicates are compatible with singular NPs, which is
incorrect. The fact that conjoined bare NPs in Spanish
can function as preverbal subjects contrary to non
conjoined bare NPs (cf. chapter 2) also shows that the
distribution of conjuncts and that of coordination are
not always parallel. Second, the claim that all
coordination it sentential is mostly based on analysis
of coordination and switch reference in Hopi and in
Mojave. Though convincing, it is not clear why this
analysis should be equally assumed for languages without
any SR system. Other arguments (chapter 2) do not show
either that coordination must be sentential. For
instance, nominal coordinations where sentential adverbs
are infelicitous, as in (7b), are not mentioned and
remain unexplained.

(10) a. Perhaps John and maybe Mary will come.
b.*Perhaps John and maybe Mary will meet.
c. John and Mary will meet.

This claim also has undesirable consequences for both
the representation and derivation of coordinate
structures. The structure of non nominal coordinations
(chapter 3) contains functional projections which do not
seem independently motivated, and whose identity is
rather vague (Event Phrase, Predicational Phrase). The
derivation of clausal coordination (p. 59-62) involves
several movements apparently motivated only by the
necessity to derive a correct word order.

The feature-insertion analysis, though attractive,
assumes that plurality is a sum of singularities, cf.(3)
above. But, if two singular features are assumed to
yield a semantic plural, what would the representation
of plural in generic DPs or universally quantified DPs
be ?

Although partial agreement receives a lot of attention,
the author does not say how he would derive full
agreement with postverbal conjoined subjects. This
leaves the picture of agreement phenomena incomplete.
Note also that it is not clear why the projection above
coordination allows to obtain PA in case of V-S
agreement (p.120), but full agreement in case of
modifier agreement (p.135).

More crucially, the structure of DP coordination with
postnominal modifiers assumes that conjunction is
licensed by a predicational functional head, hosting the
adjective, cf.(9a). This structure parallels the
structure of subject DP coordination where conjunction
is licensed by the verbal functional head, cf.(11b).
Then, it is not clear at all what the structure of a
subject coordination modified by a postnominal adjective
should be: if the head licensing the conjunction were I,
as in (11a), where would the ADJ be, and vice versa ?

(11) a. [IP DP1 [I'[and [IP DP2 [I'[I...]]]]]]
b. [XP X [YP DP1 [Y'[and [YP DP2 [Y'[ADJ...]]]]]]

Finally, the argumentation is somewhat incoherent. In
the chapter 3, conjoined bare NPs are claimed to be
allowed in preverbal position, since they are linked to
a pro in postverbal position. The author stipulates that
conjoined bare NPs cannot be linked to a pro because
''coordination would force a kind of movement that
ordinary NPs cannot undergo''. This is not consistent
with the assumption that conjuncts do not move. In the
chapter 4, the prenominal adjective agreeing only with
the first conjunct is said to be able to have scope over
both conjunct, but the author claims that the
ungrammaticality of full agreement on prenominal
adjectives relates to the fact that they cannot have
scope over both conjuncts. Finally, the data analyzed
with respect to gapping in the chapter 5 do not involve
gapping, but V(P) coordination (''John came and left'').

Aoun, J., Benmamoun, E. & Sportiche, D., 1994.
''Agreement, Word Order and Conjunction''. Linguistic
Inquiry, 25: 195-220.
Aoun, J., & Benmamoun, E., 1999. ''Agreement,
Coordination, and Gapping''. Ms. USC and SOAS.
Chomsky, N., 1957. Syntactic Structures. The Hague:
Gazdar et al., 1985. ''Coordination and How to
Distinguish Categories''. Natural Language and Linguistic
Theory, 3: 117-171.
Goodall, G., 1987. Parallel Structures in Syntax.
Cambridge: CUP.
Haiman, J., 1983. ''On Some Origins of Switch Reference
Marking''. In J. Haiman & P. Munro (eds.), Switch-
Reference and Universal Grammar, 105-128. Amsterdam:
John Benjamins.
Hale, K. & Jeanne, L., 1976. Hopi workshop notes. Ms.
University of Arizona.
Höhle, T., 1990. ''Assumptions about Asymmetric
Coordination''. In J. Mascaró & M. Nespor (eds.), GLOW
Essays for Henk van Riemsdijk. Dordrecht: Foris.
Johannessen, J., 1996. ''Partial Agreement and
Coordination''. Linguistic Inquiry, 27: 661-676.
Johannessen, J., 1998. Coordination. Oxford: OUP.
Longobardi, G., 1994. ''Reference and Proper Names''.
Linguistic Inquiry 25 :609-666.
Munn, A., 1993. Topics in the Syntax and Semantics of
Coordinate Structures. Ph.D. dissertation, University of
Pullum, G.,& Zwicky, A., 1986. ''Phonological Resolution
of Syntactic Features Conflict''. Language 62: 751-773.
Zoerner, E., 1995. Coordination: The Syntax of &P. Ph.D.
dissertation, University of California.
Hana Skrabalova is a teaching and research assistant at
the University of Paris 3. Her field of research
(Ph.D. dissertation in progress) includes syntax and
semantics of coordinate expressions and related
phenomena (agreement, DP structure, plurality). She is
mostly working on Slavic (Czech) and Romance (French)

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