Review of The Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Volumes I-V
|EDITORS: Martin Everaert & Henk van Riemsdjik
TITLE: The Blackwell Companion to Syntax (Volumes I-V)
PUBLISHER: Blackwell publishing Ltd (Oxford)
Reviewer for (Vol. III-V): Ahmad R. Lotfi, Azad University (Iran)
The Blackwell Companion to Syntax (Vol. I-V), henceforth the BCS, is a
collection of 77 articles by some leading figures in generative studies of
syntax. The articles, or 'chapters' as the editors prefer to call them,
appear here for the first time, and cover a rich variety of topics
researched throughout the past 40 years. The chapters are arranged in
alphabetical order, and range between 11 and 120 pages in length each.
Together with Consolidated References and the index to all volumes, the BCS
amounts to more than 3500 pages. There is also an accompanying CD-ROM
containing a searchable electronic version of the entire BCS. The digital
version is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.
A major concern of the generative theorist in the past 40 years or so has
been the systematic unraveling of the whole theory in order to attain
higher levels of theoretical and/or empirical adequacy. As a result of
this, analyses and generalisations once assumed to be crucially important
to the dominant theory of the time may have suddenly faded into the
background. There are times we learn with surprise that some otherwise
well-informed students of ours are only vaguely familiar with what as
students of linguistics we considered indispensable. Current handbooks are
primarily concerned with current theorizing rather than the background
research behind it. Given the significance of research continuity in
sciences, the editors hope the BCS will help to fill in the gap between the
past and present of research on syntax. With this in mind, the authors
offer historically contextualised analyses of their topics, and show how
they relate to our current understanding of syntactic phenomena.
In what follows, I focus on the last 40 chapters of the BCS (Vol. III-V).
In addition to chapter summaries, each article is briefly evaluated in such
terms as its theoretical orientation, the empirical coverage, the author's
style of writing, and the editorial scheme of the Companion.
CHAPTER SUMMARY & EVALUATION (Volumes III-V)
Chapter 38: Logophoricity (pp. 1-20)
In this chapter, Eric Reuland is concerned with logophors as forms bound in
one environment but free in another. Reuland's chapter is primarily
theoretical as he focuses on Clements's (1975) and Sell's (1987) theories
of logophoricity according to which in languages with a special system for
reflecting event orientation, e.g. Niger-Congo, logophors are
systematically used for expressing such roles as SOURCE (the intentional
agent in a communication), SELF (the person whose mental state or attitude
is described by the proposition), or PIVOT (one with respect to whose
location the proposition is evaluated). Logophoricity is the use of the
pronominal system for keeping track of either of these roles throughout the
discourse. Reuland's treatment of the topic is deep and thorough. However,
his study is confined to the Clements/Sells approach to logophoricity,
which is too narrow in perspective once compared with the BCS editors' scheme.
Chapter 39: Long-Distance Binding in Asian Languages (pp. 21-84)
Peter Cole, Gabriella Hermon, and C.-T. James Huang investigate
long-distance reflexives in Chinese. Data from Malay, Kannada, Mupun, and
even some European languages like Dutch are also added to shed further
light on the typological properties of such reflexives. Such properties
apparently include monomorphemicity, subject antecedents, and specific
domains for the occurrence of both antecedents and reflexives. The role of
discourse in licensing such reflexives is subject to considerable variation
across different languages. A variety of theoretical analyses are reviewed
extensively including those of parameterization of the binding domain,
cyclical re-indexing, and movement. The authors conclude the chapter with a
word on the question of economy and long-distance binding. The chapter is
an extensive but still coherent account of the topic. It remains accessible
to the average reader throughout the text. However, it is less focused than
what the title suggests.
Chapter 40: Long-Distance Binding in Germanic Languages (pp. 85-108)
Although Eric Reuland's introduction of the topic (variation in LD-binding
in Germanic) is quite detailed, the treatment proves to be relatively
superficial. Rueland incorporates data on the use of anaphors from English,
Icelandic, Faeroese, Mainland Scandinavian, Dutch, German, Frisian and
Yiddish. The variation is then captured in terms of Koster's (1985), and
Manzini and Wexler's (1987) parameterisation approach, Everaert's (1986)
representational theory of anaphoric dependencies, Lebeuax's (1983) and
Chomsky's (1986) LF-movement approach to binding. The author concludes the
chapter with a brief discussion of LD-binding and minimalist accounts of
language. The chapter's organisation fails to relate these different
analyses of the topic coherently. As such, it turns into a list of
different accounts of LD-binding mainly proposed in the eighties.
Chapter 41: Long NP-Movement (pp. 109-130)
In this chapter, Howard Lasnik and Cedric Boeckx offer a theoretically and
empirically adequate review of long NP-movement phenomena as understood in
transformational, P&P and minimalist terms. The data mainly come from
English with some sporadic examples from Italian, Scandinavian and Chinese.
Superraising, Subjacency, ECP, Relativised Minimiality, economy,
equi-distance, feature movement and Agree are among the most significant
components of this review. Contrary to many works by these two authors, the
chapter is stylistically available to the average reader, which is even
further improved by a coherent and focused organisation of the chapter.
Chapter 42: Middles (pp. 131-203)
Peter Ackema and Maaike Schoorlemmer investigate the properties of
so-called middle constructions. They recognise the difficulty inherent in
distinguishing middles from a number of related sentence types such as
passives, inchoatives and true reflexives. For them, true middles are
characterised with (a) the impossibility of expressing the external
argument of a middle verb as a regular DP, (b) the subject of the middle
sentence carrying the role of its direct internal argument, and (c) the
middle verb being stative, non-episodic. As an example, one could mention
such sentences as ''Dit boek leest als een trein'' (lit.
this-book-reads-like-a-train, i.e. 'this book is very easy to read') in
Dutch. The authors contrast middles even with the middle voice serving to
express that the subject is acting on herself/himself (e.g. ''David was
shaving'') given the properties outlined above. Reviewing a variety of
analyses of the different types of middle constructions, Ackema and
Schoorlemmer conclude that the construction is a semantic type with
different languages varying drastically in the syntactic devices they
employ to express it. The chapter is written in a textbook style, which
makes it rather easy to follow even with no familiarity with the relevant
literature on the topic. The chapter seems to be primarily meant to
popularise the topic rather than bring it back into focus, as the BCS is
intended to do. As a matter of fact, I doubt the topic has ever been much
Chapter 43: Mittlefeld Phenomena (Scrambling in Germanic) (pp. 204-274)
Hubert Haider begins the chapter with the definition of the theory-neutral
notion Mittlefeld ('midfield') as that segment of a (Germanic) clause that
includes ''everything between C-0 on the left and the verbs on the right (p.
206).'' It doesn't correspond to any constituent, and its exact mapping
varies with the theoretical model chosen. Then Haider compares the MF in OV
and VO languages. This leads to the heart of the chapter where such MF
phenomena as scrambling, expletive/non-expletive subjacency, the order of
fronting pronouns, empty MF, etc. are investigated. He shows that
scrambling is more than free base-ordering in a language with
morphologically identifiable grammatical functions as it is only OV
languages (like German, Hindi and Japanese) that scramble. This is also
supported by the fact that in a language like German with mixed headedness,
it does not scramble in head-initial NPs and PPs but in head-final VPs and
APs. The author's treatment of the topic is empirically rich and
theoretically comprehensive. Careful and clear writing and coherent
organisation of the chapter are extra assets.
Chapter 44: Multiple-Wh-Questions (pp. 275-326)
Veneeta Dayal's review of research into multiple Wh-questions begins with
wh-expressions as diagnostics of scope although they differ from quantified
expressions in interpretation. With regard to multiple wh-questions, Dayal
classifies languages as (a) non-fronting languages (they are either like
Chinese and Japanese in that all wh-expressions remain in situ or like
English with one of the wh-expressions moved to the left periphery and
others kept in situ), (b) multiple-fronting languages like Serbo-Croatian
and Bulgarian with ALL wh-expressions moving to peripheral positions, and
(c) languages without multiple wh-questions like Italian and Irish. The
chapter also deals with the question of typological variation in
superiority effects, and the different analyses (P&P accounts,
economy-bases ones, and those based upon functional wh) proposed for
explaining superiority phenomena. The chapter is a thorough investigation
of the topic mainly within the framework of the P&P Model. It fails to
cover the bulk of minimalist studies of the topic (see Boeckx and
Grohmann's 2003 for minimalist accounts of the phenomena).
Chapter 45: N-Words and Negative Concord (pp. 327-391)
Anastasia Giannakidou discusses the semantic and syntactic properties of
what Laka (1990) termed n-words, i.e. nominal and adverbial constituents
occurring in negative concord (NC) structures and can provide a negative
fragment answer like 'niente' (Italian), 'res' (Catalan), and 'nanimo'
(Japanese). English 'any' is an existential polarity item rather than an
n-word as it cannot provide a fragment answer to a question like 'what did
John say?' Based on the distinction between strict and non-strict NC, the
author provides a typology of n-words in Romance, Slavic, Greek and
Hungarian. N-words in strict NC do not contribute an existential quantifier
independently of negation. She concludes that ''n-words do not form a
semantically uniform class across languages (p. 366).'' Finally, she
provides a number of diagnostics for existential, universal and negative
n-words. The chapter provides guidelines to incorporate discussions
indifferent generative models including the MP (checking theory). The style
and organisation of the chapter is in perfect harmony with the editorial
purposes behind the development of the BCS.
Chapter 46: Object Shift (pp. 392-436)
Stein Vikner's chapter is an investigation of object shift (OS) in
Scandinavian languages. The author provides a description of the OS
phenomena in Icelandic and Danish, and then compares them with scrambling
in German. This is followed by a review of GB- and minimalist approaches to
the study of OS: (a) case as the key to OS, (b) equidistance as the key to
OS, and (c) focus and interpretation as the key to OS. Vikner's formulation
of OS in terms of case-assignment is rather confusing: ''Object shift is
possible only if the case-assigning verb leaves VP because only then is the
case-assigned DP assigned case by a trace which again means that only then
is it possible for this DP not to be assigned case and therefore to move
into a case position higher up in the clause (p. 416).'' Definitely, Vikner
does not want a 'case-assigned DP' to be assigned a case a second time.
Moreover, the analysis is not falsifiable as case assignment by trace is
supposed to be optional. Once elaborating on equidistance as the key to
object shift , Vikner writes: ''If the verb would not move, [VP, Spec] and
[AgrOP, Spec] would not belong to the same minimal domain and they would
therefore not be equidistant, and so the object could not leave its base
position (p. 420).'' This is still formulated in the spirit of Move alpha in
GB as it does not explain why alpha (here the shifted object) should move
at all even if minimality is not violated.
Chapter 47: Partial Wh-Movement (pp. 437-492)
In this chapter, Gisbert Fanselow is concerned with partial Wh-movement
(PM) in German. The term PM is understood as the movement of a
Wh-expression to a position structurally lower than the position to which
it 'ought' to move. Descriptive generalisations are followed by a review of
four major theoretical analyses of the phenomena in question: (a) the
scope-marking analysis (von Stechow & Sternefeld 1988, Muller 1997, Beck &
Berman 2000), (b) the feature-movement analysis (Hiemstra 1986, Cheng
2000), (c) the indirect-dependency approaches: argumental WHAT (Davison
1984, Mahajan 1990), and (d) the indirect-dependency approaches: expletive
WHAT (Mahajan 1996,Horvarth 1997). Examples from a number of other
languages such as Arabic and Hindi are also analysed to lend further
support to the theoretical and empirical analyses of PM in German.
Chapter 48: (Past) Participle Agreement (pp. 493-521)
Adriana Belletti's chapter focuses on past participle agreement (the
nodeAgrPstPrtP) in Romance languages (French v. Italian). She argues that
the object clitic projection in its movement to its landing site in the
upper part of the clause passes through Spec of AgrPstPrtP and triggers
agreement. This analysis is supported by the absence of agreement between
the past participle and the subject of intransitive/unergative and
transitive verbs: Only arguments in the lowest level of VP (typically the
direct object) are involved in past participle agreement. This can explain
why past participles agreement co-occurs VPs with no external argument,
e.g. unaccusative and passive constructions. As Agr nodes were first
designated under GB, and then dispensed with in the MP, the chapter proves
to be rather limited in historical perspective.
Chapter 49: Phrasal Stress and Syntax (pp. 522-568)
Maria Luisa Zubizarreta and Jean-Roger Vergnaud's contribution is a
selective review of the generative literature on the correlation between
prosodic prominence and information structure (in Germanic, Bengali, and
Romance). The prominence is captured in terms of informational focus
structure of the sentence with focus understood as the non-presupposed part
of the sentence. In addition to the classical view (the Nuclear Stress
Rule-based account by Chomsky 1971 and Jackendoff 1972), Cinque's (1993)
revised theory of NSR and Zubizarreta's (1998) version are reviewed
briefly. Concerning the question of where the NSR applies, the authors
conclude that ''prosodic information (such as prosodic boundaries and main
prominence)must be present at the stage in the derivation where LF is
constructed (p. 548).'' For Zubizarreta's (1998) version of the standard
model it is at the level of S-structure that prosodic information is
incorporated. With SS dispended with in the MP, however, it is difficult to
relate PF and LF as such. For a different perspective, the reader may refer
to Lotfi's (2006) formulation of his SPF as an alternative to SS.
Chapter 50: Pied-Piping (pp. 569-630)
Julia Horvath studies pied-piping phenomena in Germanic (esp. in English)
in reference to a historical background of earlier generative accounts
(Ross 1986, from his 1967 dissertation), analyses within the P&P framework
of the 80s, and those with a minimalist perspective in the 90s and onwards.
The analysis Horvath seems to support is a minimalist one in which heads
project features, and checking attracts either the head itself or the whole
phrasal projection with the non-head material 'pied-piped' to it. The
chapter ranks high in style and organisation. It nicely summarises the
major theoretical trends of the past 40 years in the analysis of
Chapter 51: Preposition Stranding (pp. 631-684)
Paul Law reviews three major analyses of P-stranding in Germanic and
Romance, namely reanalysis (a Case-theoretic approach by Hornstein and
Weinberg 1981 according to which '[t]he (apparent) object of the
preposition ... is in fact an object of the reanalyzed verb, and the
wh-phrase object of these reanalyzed verbs may now be extracted since it is
no longer governed and Case-marked with a [+oblique] Case by P after
reanalysis ...' p. 638), government-theoretic accounts (Kayne 1984, Bennis
& Hoekstra 1984) and syntactic D-to-P-incorporation (Law 1998, Van
Riemsdijk 1998) with P coalescing with the following D into a suppletive
form. ''[T]he lack of P-stranding may be considered tube a consequence of P
not being separable from the following D (p. 647).'' Although the
incorporation analysis is theoretically interesting, it seems to predict
that (a) a language with such suppletive forms must NOT allow P-stranding,
and (b) a language permitting P-stranding must NOT have such forms. It is
still unclear how far these predictions will be borne out.
Chapter 52: Properties of VOS Languages (685-720)
Sandra Chung observes that while VOS is possible, though uncommon, as the
dominant pragmatically neutral order in a language, OVS and OSV are rare or
non-existent. For Kayne (1994), the simplest possible clause structure is
SVO. Any other order should have been driven via movement. Then VOS is the
result of VP raising. The author reviews the evidence proposed for VP
raising in Malagasy and Seediq. She also focuses on the motivation for such
a raising in terms of EPP-feature checking. However, she shows that there
are languages such as Tzotzil and Chamorro whose syntactic profile deviates
from that of languages with verb-initial clauses derived by VP rising.
Chung concludes that ''there are multiple syntactic routes to VOS-hood ...
(p. 713).'' The chapter is rich in its coverage of both theoretical and
empirical issues. It is also characterised with good style and coherent
Chapter 53: Quantifier Scope Ambiguities (pp. 1-34)
Katlin E. Kiss's chapter is a summary of the treatment of quantifier scope
ambiguities in a number of generative theories including early generative
analyses of the topic (referring scope interpretation of scope to surface
structure in EST and REST), May's (1977, 1985) accounts of scope ambiguity
in terms of Q-raising, Fodor and Sag's (1982) analysis of the phenomena as
lexical (rather than scope) ambiguity, a minimalist approach to scope
ambiguities (Hornstein's theory of Q-raising via A-movement motivated by
morphological feature checking), Fox's (1995) theory of scope
interpretation constrained by economy, Beghelli & Stowell's (1997) typology
of QPs in line with Liu's (1990) theory that scope possibilities depend on
the type of the quantifier, Kayne's (1998) theory of overt quantifier
movement, and Erteschnik-Shir's theory of focus structure. The language
employed to summarise some less familiar works is sometimes obscure. There
are also some rare examples of mistakes/typos (such as 'metafor' on page
29, and 'usually-clause bound' on page 32) in need of editorial work.
Chapter 54: Reconstruction, Binding, and Scope (pp. 35-93)
Dominique Sportiche focuses on reconstruction phenomena in English. The
chapter is a review of descriptions, generalisations, and explanations for
such phenomena. The evidence of binding and scope suggests that
reconstruction for movement is into traces. Moreover, it applies for both
A- and A-bar types of movement. As far as binding principles are concerned,
reconstruction is not uniform: reconstruction for Condition A is possible
but not required. For Condition C, on the other hand, there are times
reconstruction is obligatory, but there are also times it is optional. For
Sportiche, LF is the level of representation where reconstruction takes
place. Considering movement as a process of copying, the author concludes
that ''[e]ither or both copies can be determined at LF (p. 85).'' The scope
of an XP, however, is interpreted in the position of the highest copy
interpreted. Although the review of the analyses proposed under P&P and
early MP approaches is deep and thorough, Sportiche does not refer to more
recent analyses of relevance like one in terms of Chomsky's phase theory.
The chapter is reader-friendly in language and self-contained in content.
An informal introduction to the subject matter is especially helpful in
Chapter 55: Resumption (pp. 94-117)
James McCloskey investigates resumptive pronouns--obligatorily bound
pronominal elements appearing in positions that are empty under other
circumstances--in English and Irish (among other languages touched here
such as Arabic). The chapter is a review of major works on resumption done
between 1972 and 2001 by Morgan (1972), Perlmutter (1972), Bresnan &
Grimshaw (1978), McCloskey (1979, 1990), Sells (1984), Engdahl (1985), Aoun
& Choueiri (1996, 2000) and Aoun et al. (2001). It is also concerned with
the properties of resumption, and resumption and movement: It is intended
to critically review the analyses of resumptive pronouns focusing on either
of these two questions: (a) To what extent do resumptive pronouns share
features of other classes of pronouns? (b) How far does the relation
between a resumptive pronoun and its binder share the properties of
movement? It emerges from the review of these analyses is that 'true
resumptive pronouns' appear inside islands, and show no reconstruction
effects. 'Apparent resumptive pronouns', on the other hand, are not trapped
inside islands, and exhibit reconstruction effects.
Chapter 56: The SE-Anaphor and its Role in Argument Realization (pp. 118-179)
Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin reviews the empirical observations made in the 80s
and 90s with regard to SE-anaphors (reflexive-reciprocal clitics like 'se'
in French, Spanish and Romanis, or 'si' in Italian), types of SE
(accusative, dative, and nominates SEs), and SE-verbs and the
representation of agentivity. Cinque's (1988) analysis of two types of
nominative SE in Italian, and Dobrovie-Sorin's (1998) analysis of
nominative clitics and agreement features, and that of middle-passive SE in
control infinitivals come next. Despite this, the chapter is primarily
concerned with descriptive generalisations rather than explanations.
Chapter 57: Secondary Predicates in Australian Languages (pp. 180-208)
For Eva Schultze-Berndt, secondary predication is a label for a wide range
of construction types including lexical nominal expressions, 'part'
expressions, and adjunct. The author begins with a brief review of
Australian languages. These languages are not homogeneous either in terms
of genetic relationships or their typological characteristics. However,
there is a genetic division of Australian languages into Pama-Nyungan (PN)
and Non-Pama-Nyungan (NPN) families. While most Australian languages are
agglutinating, some NPN languages are non-configurational. She then turns
to morphological and syntactic properties of depictive secondary predicates
in Australian. An account of depictives vs. adverbials brings the chapter
to an end. As far as the style of writing is concerned, the chapter may
prove to be difficult to follow for less experienced readers unless
Rothstein's chapter (pp. 209-233) is thoroughly studied first.
Chapter 58: Secondary Predication (pp. 209-233) Susan Rothstein focuses on
two kinds of secondary predicates in English, namely, depictive predicates
(in 'John-i drove the car drunk-i') and resultatives (in 'Jane painted the
house-i red-i').The chapter is a review of semantic and syntactic
approaches to the study of the topic including Dowty's [phi CAUSE psi]
analysis, GB analyses of depictives and resultatives as secondary
predicates, and more recent developments in the study of the phenomena with
SP as an operation of predicate conjunction. With regard to the style and
organisation of the chapter, it is self-contained, brief, coherent, and
easy to follow. Moreover, it fully conforms to the editors' general plan
for the BCS. Rothstein's subsection on 'recent developments', however, is
too brief (less than 2 pages).
Chapter 59: Serial Verbs (234-270)
Pieter Muysken and Tonjes Veenstra are concerned with description and
classification of verb serialisation, a construction in which a sequence of
juxtaposed verbs syntactically express a single semantic clause with no use
made of overt coordinating conjunctions. Their examples mainly come from
Saramaccan an English-based creole language spoken in Suriname. Serial
verbs share the following properties, according to Muysken and Veenstra:
''(a) only one grammatical subject, (b) at most one grammatical object, (c)
one specification for tense/aspect ..., (d) only one possible negator, (e)
no intervening coordinating conjunction, (f) no intervening subordinating
conjunction, (g) no intervening pause (p. 238).'' The authors explore two
typological factors, namely, (1) independence of the subevents, and (2)
freedom of lexical selection, giving rise to four logically possible types
of serial verb construction. They also deal with the hierarchical relations
between NP arguments in a serial verb construction, the concatenation
principles of subordination, adjunction, and coordination, argument sharing
in such constructions, and the typological correlates of serial verbs. The
focus of the chapter is on description and generalisation rather than
explanation and analysis. It fails to organically relate to any major
generative theory of syntax. The construction is not elevated above the
margins of the theory of syntax.
Chapter 60: Sluicing (pp. 271-291)
In Jason Merchant's chapter on sluicing (defined as ellipsis phenomena with
only a wh-phrase remnant left behind after eliding the whole sentence, e.g.
'what' in 'Jack bought something, but I don't know what'), we read about
movement and non-movement approaches to sluicing, empirical support for
either approach from a wide variety of languages, and puzzles and problems
inherent in either analysis. The chapter is well-written, easy to follow,
coherent, and quite convenient in length. Merchant rightly emphasises that
sluicing ''is at the intersection of two of the best studied ... areas of
generative approach research, namely ellipsis and wh-movement (p. 272).''
however, one may wonder why Merchant makes no single reference to the
latest developments made with regard to these two areas of study in
Chapter 61: Specificational Copular Sentences and Pseudoclefts (pp. 292-409)
According to Marcel Den Dikken, specificational copular sentences are a
subtype of copular sentences of the general format of XP be YP [where YP is
not a participial VP] where XP=CP/NP and YP=VP, e.g. in 'what they did was
lose the game', or, on the other hand, XP=VP and YP=CP/NP as in 'lose the
game is what they did'. In a sentence like 'his supper is food for the dog'
(Akmajian 1979), the NP 'food for the dog' is understood specificationally
if the NP is referential, i.e. the sentence is understood as saying 'he
eats food for the dog for his supper'. And if the NP is non-referential, it
will be understood as 'his supper serves as food for the dog', which is
termed predicational. Non-specificational copular sentences are
pseudoclefts if the construction involves the extraction of non-focused
constituents and preceding them by a wh-item. Apparently, it is only for
the specificational reading of the sentence that XP and YP can change
places with no change in meaning, as in 'food for the dog is his supper'.
Den Dikken also reviews more fine-grained typologies for copular sentences
such as those proposed by Higgins (1979) and Declerck (1988). The chapter
covers a good number of items related to the topic. It is well-written in
style, very detailed, and perhaps a little long as a single chapter in the
BCS. However, it remains a summary (rather than a critical review) of major
analyses of the topic with no explicit conclusion drawn. As such, the
chapter is a bit too long but still incomplete!
Chapter 62: Split Topicalization (pp. 410-465)
Hanneke Van Hoof approaches ST as a special kind of topicalisation in which
''a constituent's core is extracted to the pre-field while leaving its
non-core behind in the middle-field of the clause (p. 411).'' The ST
phenomena are most extensively investigated with regard to Split NP
Topicalisation (SNPT) and Split VP Topicalisation (SVPT) in German, which
Van Hoof describes and analyses in detail in this chapter. A subsection of
7 pages, however, is devoted to reviewing research on the related phenomena
in other languages including Modern Greek, Slavic and Chinese. Van Hoof
examines the syntactic properties and analyses of SNPT and SVPT at
considerable length. Also different landing sites for ST are investigated
thoroughly and in reference to scrambling, contrastive left dislocation and
topicalisation. However, little is said on the differences (if there are
any, according to Van Hoof) between scrambling and topicalisation. The
author seems to reduce cross-linguistic differences with respect to SNPT to
parameterisation (p. 452) while other possible sources of difference (such
as lexical, morphological, and even phonological properties of NPs in
different languages) are conceivable, too. Van Hoof questions the validity
of the suggestion made (among others) by den Besten and Webelhuth (1990)
according to which ST correlates with the availability of scrambling:
''[A]lthough both German and Dutch are Scrambling languages that allow for
SVPT, not all varieties of these languages have SNPT as well (p. 452).'' The
argument sounds imperfect as it is still possible for scrambling to be a
necessary though insufficient condition for SNPT to take place.
Chapter 63: The Spray-Load Alternation (pp. 466-478)
Maya Arad's chapter deals with the locative alternation for such verbs as
'spray' and 'load', which appear in two different syntactic structures with
either of their internal arguments as the direct object, and the other as a
goal or a locatum, e.g. 'Lucy sprayed the paint on the well' or 'Lucy
sprayed the wall with paint'. Arad reviews three types of analyses of the
topic, namely, Levin and Rappaport's (1988) theory of thematic roles,
Tenny's (1987) Aspectual Interface Hypothesis, and Borer's (1994)
economy-based syntactic analysis of the phenomenon. As a very specific case
study, Arad's chapter investigates the relation between the syntax and
lexical semantics of this class of verbs rather briefly. The study does not
get into the depth of either of the theoretical analyses reviewed, and is
not empirically rich either.
Chapter 64: Strong vs. Weak Islands (pp. 479-531)
Beginning with Ross's (1967) distinction between left dislocation and
'chopping' (the former leaves a pro-form behind while the latter doesn't),
Anna Szabolcsi identifies strong islands as those from which no extraction
is allowed. For weak islands (WI), on the other hand, ''some phrases can
extract, others cannot (p. 480).'' She provides a classical list of strong
islands including complex DP with relative clause, complex DP with
complement clause, definites, subjects, adjuncts, coordinate structures,
tensed constituent wh-complements, and left branches. More recent
literature is also explored in detail to describe the full set of WIs
including arguments, referentials, negative polarity items, etc. Two
dimensions A (what extractions are sensitive to WIs?) and B (what contexts
constitute weak island?) are explored in this respect. Finally, the
relevant theories--ECP, Subjacency, Relativized Minimality, Monotonicity,
and the Scope Theory--are reviewed in reference to the specific phenomena
classified under A or B. The chapter is not always easy to read due to the
nature of the topic under study, which is deeply embedded in generative
theories of syntax.
Chapter 65: Stylistic Fronting (pp. 532-565)
Anders Holmberg investigates stylistic fronting in Icelandic, Faroese, and
Old Scandinavian. The phenomenon consists of moving a category to the
initial position of finite sentences with a subject gap. He reviews a
number of analyses of the phenomenon developed between 1980 and 2000 such
as Maling's (1980), and Maling and Zaene's (1990) distinction between
topicalisation and SF, characterisation of the context of SF, accessibility
hierarchy, and partial complementary distribution of SF and the expletive
pronoun, Jonsson's (1991) analysis of SF as head movement vs. SF as
XP-movement, and Holmberg's (2000) account of SF as expletive movement.
Holmberg concludes that ''all SF is movement to Spec, IP ...(and seriously
considers) the possibility that all of the categories moved by SF are, in
fact, phrasal, but that some of them consist of nothing but a head (p.
554).'' As a result, he rejects the head movement analysis of SF, and
proposes that ''SF is triggered by a condition that Spec, IP must be overtly
filled,'' which he formalises as ''a feature [P] in I ... taken to be one
half of the Extended Projection Principle (p. 549).'' Holmberg's analysis,
however, doesn't get into the ontological status of things as, for
instance, it is not clear why language must have such features as [P] and
[D] in the first place.
Chapter 66: Subextraction (pp. 567-600)
Norbert Corver's chapter deals with subextraction, which is extracting the
direct object noun phrase (as in 'this car I believe [that you really like
--]') from within the embedded clause. The author notices that it is the
entire NP that is fronted so that the sentence '*this I really like[--car]'
is ungrammatical. The author examines different approaches taken to explain
why specifying and modifying elements cannot be extracted from within the
nominal and/or adjectival domain in English while in Russian and Latin such
a thing is allowed. Corver reviews Ross's (1986) Left Branch Condition,
Emonds's (1985) Generalized LBC, subextraction from the 'wat voor'
N-construction in Dutch, and subextraction in Slavic languages (Corver
1990,1992) in this respect, and concludes that ''languages whose nominals
project to DP do not permit subextraction of specifying or modifying
elements'' while those ''whose nominal projections lack the DP-level ...
permit subextraction from the nominal domain (p. 591).'' He argues that
Russian lacks a DP, and that ''potential candidates for the category D, like
demonstratives, possessive pronoun, etc., should be analyzed as adjectives
(p. 592).'' Corver's analysis, however, wrongly predicts that Persian, which
uses demonstratives instead of 'true' Ds, must permit subextraction from
the nominal domain as Russian does. The prediction is not borne out.
Chapter 67: Subject Clitics and Complex Inversion (pp. 601-659)
Jean-Yves Pollock makes the observation that French syntactically
distinguishes between pronominal and non-pronominal subjects as an
auxiliary verb like 'aller' or a main verb like 'penser' may invert with
pronominal subjects but NOT with non-pronominals. Subject Clitic Inversion
(SCLI) and Stylistic Inversion (SI) in French treat non-pronominal subjects
differently, but strong pronominals 'lui' or 'toi' pattern after proper
names and full DPs in SCLI constructions. Pollock examines the
root/non-root asymmetry displayed by SCLI and Complex Inversion (CI) and
concludes that the phenomena cannot involve any overt movement to the CP
field (as Hulk 1993, Kayne 1994, and Sportiche 1993 conclude) ''only if and
only if the computation to the CP field in SCLI and SI is head movement (p.
619).'' For Pollock, however, SCLI and CI involve pre-spellout computations
to the CP field as Remnant Movement to the specifier position of a
functional projection called HP. Remnant IP is attracted to HP to check the
interrogative feature on the H head of the left periphery. SI is now
different from SCLI and CI in the layer of the Comp domain that its Remnant
IP targets. The chapter is wide and extensive in its empirical coverage.
Although it is a shortened and simplified version of the second chapter of
Poletto and Pollock (2004), it is still among the most technical chapters
of the collection. The author's glosses for French examples are too brief
(e.g. 'Peter-Neg-it-to-him-will-give-you-not' as the gloss for 56b 'Pierre
ne le lui donnera-t-il pas?' with no English equivalent given for the whole
sentence), if provided. This makes the chapter more difficult to read if
you don't know French.
Chapter 68: Subjunctives (pp. 660-684)
Josep Quer studies the syntactic properties of the subjunctive mood mainly
in Romance languages. For Quer, subjunctive is essentially an epiphenomenon
derived from different lexical, syntactic or semantic factors. Subjunctive
clauses are said to form more transparent domains than indicative ones. For
instance, in most Romance languages, they are subordinate clauses showing
obviation effects, i.e. the matrix subject cannot antecede the embedded
subject. Subjunctive forms are associated with defective tense properties.
They are claimed to have an idiosyncratic complementiser with operator
properties. Subjunctive clauses and indefinite nominals are similar with
regard to wh-extraction patterns. Even these general tendencies are far
from being universal. Quer concludes that subjunctives ''do not constitute a
uniform class; not only cross-linguistically but also within languages (p.
679).'' While the conclusion is a valid one, the chapter seems to take it
for granted that whatever unifies subjunctive forms within and across
different languages must be a syntactic factor, e.g. some Mood Phrase (MP)
inside the left periphery of the sentence. Although subjunctives are
syntactic creatures, it can still be up to certain semantico-cognitive
factors to assign such syntactic properties to subjunctive forms. Not all
aspects of syntax need to be autonomous.
Chapter 69: Syntactic Haplology (pp. 685-710)
Ad Neeleman and Hans Van de Koot review descriptive generalisations (but no
analyses) proposed for haplology (the Repeated Morph Constraint) mainly in
Dutch plus examples from some other languages including Spanish and German.
The constraint is intended to capture the resistence against accidental
repetition of morphemes, e.g. in '??die die dat rooie haar heeft' in Dutch.
The authors elaborate on the strategies of tolerance, avoidance, deletion,
and suppletion once a morpheme is accidentally repeated in a construction.
While a number of sources for haplology phenomena are introduced, e.g.
repetition of phonological forms or syntactic features, examples taken from
different languages are juxtaposed rather carelessly so that
generalisations may be misunderstood as universal tendencies.
Chapter 70: The Syntax of Modal Auxiliaries (pp. 1-22)
Sjef Barbiers examines five major analyses of the modal alternation between
epistemic (speaker-matrix-subject oriented qualification of the truth of a
proposition), and root (the emphasis on the ability, will, permission, etc.
to perform an action) interpretations: (a) Ross (1969): epistemic
interpretation for modals as one-place predicates, and root modals as
two-place predicates, (b) Hofmann (1966), and Perlmutter (1970): epistemic
modals as subject raising structures, and root modals as control
structures, (c) Picallo (1990): a higher functional position for epistemic
modals, and a lower lexical position for root modals, (d) McDowell (1987):
epistemic modals are undergo movement at LF while root modals are
interpreted in situ, and (e) Barbiers (1995, 2002): epistemic
interpretation forced by complements denoting an unchangeable state or
event. All in all, the chapter is both coherent and easy to follow.
However, some analyses are not explored in detail, e.g. Butler's (2003)
analysis of modals in term of phases (p. 16).
Chapter 71: The Syntax of Quantified Phrases and Quantitative Clitics (pp.
Anna Cardinaletti and Giuliana Giusti review the research done on
quantified phrases within the frameworks of EST (Jackendoff 1968, 1977 and
Selkirk 1977), GB (Belletti & Rizzi 1981, Burzio 1986, Abney 1987 and
Sportiche 1988), and MP (Kayne's 1994 anti-symmetry hypothesis and
Chomsky's 1995 bare phrase structure) focusing on existential quantifiers
(cardinals and 'vague numerals') that appear with quantitative clitic
pronouns like 'en' in French. The authors conclude that quantity
expressions are realised by different lexical categories including Qs,
which head QPs. Moreover, existential Qs combine with quantitative DPs, and
universal Qs with definite ones. The chapter is self-contained, coherent,
and provides copious examples of Qs from languages as different as English,
French, Italian, Hungarian, Romanian, German, Serbo-Croatian, and Turkish.
Chapter 72: Temporal Reference (pp. 94-136)
Fabio Pianesi focuses on the referential and non-referential approaches to
temporal operators and entities. The referential approach considers such
entities as those organised in a natural sequence (the
earlier-than/later-than relation). The non-referential approach, which is
not popular among linguists but revived recently by Ludlow 1999, originated
by philosophers who believe that tense cannot be captured in terms of
precedence as ''the very basic question of whether reference to time is to
be admitted or not among the tools of the theory is still an open issue ...
(p. 119).'' Although the non-referential approach, which Pianesi openly
takes side with, is both theoretically and empirically interesting,
Ludlow's work seems to be too marginal among the generative studies of the
past 40 years to be treated at such a length and in a collection like the
BCS. The chapter simply puts in perspective what a philosophical approach
to temporal reference may amount to once adopted by linguists.
Chapter 73: Topicalization in Asian Languages (pp. 137-174)
Liejiong Xu investigates topicalisation in Chinese and Japanese as two
topic-prominent Asian languages which share a number of syntactic, semantic
and pragmatic properties as in both of them ''[t]he topic occurs to the left
of a full comment sentence. It is definite or generic and is characterized
by shared familiarity to both the speaker and the hearer (p. 138).'' The
author reviews movement and base-generation analyses of topicalisation
phenomena. Focus in contrast with topic is also discussed briefly towards
the end of the chapter. The chapter is not stylistically flawless: The
author makes too many general references while reviewing the research
background, e.g. 'opinions differ among Chinese linguists' (p. 141),
'linguists who do not believe that ...' (p. 152), or 'universally agreed by
Japanese linguists' (p. 150), without saying which specific people are
alluded to. The chapter has got no concluding section but an appendix in
Chapter 74: Unexpected Wide-Scope Phenomena (pp. 175-228)
E. G. Ruys describes the scope properties of 'specific' NPs in English such
as 'some movie' in 'every girl will be happy if some movie is shown' where
the indefinite NP can be outside the scope of 'every girl'. Ruys begins
with the issue of specificity approached either as indefinite NPs with an
inherent binary ambiguity, or, on the other hand, as indefinites always
being quantificational expressions with the specific vs. non-specific
ambiguity as a scope ambiguity. The 'island-escaping scope' effect as in
'if a relative of mine dies, I will inherit a fortune', with a wide-scope
(or 'specific') interpretation for the indefinite NP 'a relative of mine',
cannot be explained via postulating the extraction of indefinites from the
if-clause because '[i]f indefinites under-went unrestricted QR, then
wide-scope 'distributive' readings for plural indefinites would naturally
be expected (p. 219)'' as in 'if three relatives of mine die, I will inherit
a house', which is not borne out. In Reinhart's (1997) alternative
analysis, on the other hand, indefinites are interpreted in situ as open
formulae that contains a free variable. According to Ruys, such a variable
is necessarily of the choice function (CF) type in order to have the
correct semantics. Like many other generative linguists, Ruys takes the
existence of LF as formulated in GB theories for granted throughout the
chapter. However, given that no other chapter in the BCS focuses on LF
(which is a pity given the centrality of LF issues in GB and MP), such
central controversies over the status of LF in grammar as those raised by
Brody's Lexico-Logical Form and Chomsky's phase theory could be treated as
Chapter 75: Verb Clusters, Verb Raising, and Restructuring (pp. 229-343)
Susi Wurmbrand's chapter is a summary of empirical and theoretical
questions and analyses (movement vs. restructuring) concerning verb
clusters in West Germanic. Verb clusters are constructions with more than
one verbal element like 'that John must (1) have (2) been (3) elected (4)'
in English, or 'dass Hans gewahlt (4) worden (3) sein (2) muss (1)' in
German. The major empirical concern of the chapter is 'the determination of
the (im)possible orders of verbal elements in different constructions and
different languages and dialects ... (p. 231).'' The author argues that such
clusters cannot be derived (exclusively) by head incorporation. a pure
phrasal movement analysis can be maintained (for Dutch clusters) if
idiomatic phrases and particles are assumed to be subject to a vacuous
movement constraint. Both mono-clausal and bi-clausal restructuring
analyses of verb clusters are reviewed rather briefly. No specific
evaluation is made concerning the validity of each apart from considering
restructuring as ''an interesting and potentially very fruitful area for
further research (p. 323).'' As for the validity of verb-cluster movement
analyses, which assume such a movement is triggered by some syntactic
feature in need of checking or a licensing condition to be met, Wurmbrand
observes (I think correctly) that ''generally, these features or conditions
are simply stated as being present in one language vs. absent in another,
or weak in one language vs. strong in another, and moreover they are not
related to any property of the particular language (group) they are
postulated for (p. 285).'' To my disappointment, however, the author
immediately adds that ''the aim of this perhaps slightly negative discussion
is not to criticize any of the existing approaches to verb clusters, but
rather to point out that there are issues that have not been settled yet
and hence offer an interesting terrain for further research (p. 285).'' As
such, the chapter remains a summary (rather than a critical review) of
analyses of verb clusters made in the past two decades of generative
research on the topic.
Chapter 76: Verb Particle Constructions (pp. 344-375)
Martin Haiden investigates verb particle constructions--''collocations of a
verb and another element, like call+up ... (p. 345)''--in Germanic VO/OV
languages. Formulating the problems inherent in the study of such
constructions along Ludeling's (2001) 'delimitation problem' (that V+X
combinations are mainly inconsistent in their patterns of behaviour),
Haiden proceeds to relate distributional, morphological, syntactic and
functional properties of particles in these languages. Lexicalist,
semi-lexicalist and syntactic analyses of the phenomena, e.g. Stiebels and
Wunderlich (1994), Groos (1989), Toivonen (2001), Zeller (1999), Den Dikken
(1995), and Ludeling (2001) are reviewed throughout the chapter. Haiden
cannot reach any conclusion concerning the nature of verb particle
constructions, and concludes the chapter with repeating the introductory
remark that ''what native speakers perceive as a verb particle construction,
a particle-verb, a phrasal verb, etc., in a given language does not have
consistent phrase structural or functional properties, and therefore does
not have a single representation in an explanatory theory (pp. 371-372).''
Chapter 77: Wh-in-Situ (pp. 376-438)
Josef Bayer examines wh-in-situ phenomena in both wh-in-situ and wh-moving
languages mostly within the framework of LF theory. As a case study, the
author focuses on wh-scope Bengali an Eastern Indo-Aryan language that
employs a clitic-like optional element as a yes/no interrogative marker.
Reviewing the GB theory of LF movement, unselective binding analysis, and
the D-linked accounts of wh-in-situ phenomena, he concludes that the
differences between wh-in-situ and wh-moving languages are parameterised,
that wh-scope is necessarily due to (overt/covert) movement, and that while
the interrogative force must rest in a clause-peripheral functional
position to take scope, the wh-element in situ is not an operator at all
but a kind of variable. The chapter sets a good example for contributions
to works like the BCS: a very good introduction to the topic, very little
presupposed, reasonable length, and wide theoretical and empirical
coverage. The episode on Bengali, however, is not well incorporated into
the chapter so that although the section contributes greatly to the
investigation of the topic, it damages the coherence of the whole chapter.
Also the review of the analyses of the phenomena does not do justice to
minimalist accounts of interrogatives in general and wh-in-situ in
particular. A major work like Hagstrom's (1998) groundbreaking study of
wh-in-situ in Japanese, Sinhala, and Okinawan, for instance, is not even
mentioned in Bayer's chapter on wh-in-situ.
CONCLUSION: GENERAL NOTES ON THE COMPANION
The BCS is definitely among the most outstanding reference works ever
produced for the field of generative syntax. It will stay with us for years
to come as an indispensable research tool. No surprise, then, that Chomsky
describes it as ''unique in character and designed with great skill and care
... An invaluable research tool for the study of language.'' Every library
for graduate students of syntax must have the volumes on their shelves. The
editors of the companion will be always remembered for the great service
they did to the linguistics community. However, there is always some space
for improvement, and the BCS is no exception.
The alphabetical structure of the companion makes it quite accessible.
However, some readers may simply miss a chapter or section of interest
given the absence of a more conceptual structuring of the work, which can
be easily amended with a conceptual map of the companion added to the table
of contents, or a 'further reading' section at the end of each chapter. A
more thorough introduction to the BCS where the editors would introduce
chapters would benefit the reader, too.
Like any other reference book, the BCS cannot satisfy everyone's taste and
needs when it comes to the selection of topics. However, there are still
some major themes that the companion fails to treat thoroughly. Logical
forms, thematic roles, and the question of economy and optimality in the
theories of syntax are among the topics which deserve a more thorough
treatment. The editors have confined the companion to the work done in
mainstream generative linguistics. Some groundbreaking work in generative
syntax, however, originated in such generative theories of syntax as LFG,
GPSG, HPSG, and OT.
Finally, the languages in focus in the BCS chapters are not selected in
proportion to the amount/significance of research done on them. Instead,
the choice of language and topic seems to primarily reflect the editors'
research interests. As a result, a good number of chapters focus on the
syntactic phenomena characterising North and West Germanic languages. Then
it should not surprise us that there are about 140 pages in the collection
with at least one reference made to Icelandic. The number is reduced to 4
for Persian! Some other languages like Slavonic, African, Semitic, and
Asian languages are not in a much better position given the great bulk of
data available on them.
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| ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Dr. Ahmad R. Lotfi, faculty member of Azad University at Khorasgan
(Esfahan) where he teaches advanced courses in syntax to graduate students
of English. His research interests include minimalist syntax, second
language acquisition studies in generative grammar, and Persian linguistics.