LINGUIST List 17.1057

Sat Apr 08 2006

Review: Syntax: Kayne (2005)

Editor for this issue: Lindsay Butler <>

Directory         1.    Vivienne Rogers, Movement & Silence

Message 1: Movement & Silence
Date: 04-Apr-2006
From: Vivienne Rogers <>
Subject: Movement & Silence

Announced at

AUTHOR: Kayne, Richard TITLE: Movement and Silence SERIES: Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press YEAR: 2005

Vivienne Rogers, PhD Student, Department of French, University of Newcastle, UK


This collection of twelve articles brings together a number of Kayne's recent publications in one volume. As the title suggests the focus of this collection is on remnant movement and silent elements, particularly nouns and adjectives. Kayne uses a comparative approach, focusing principally on French and English but also includes discussion of Irish, Italian and Japanese.

Chapter one ''New Thoughts on Stylistic Inversion'' is co-written with Jean-Yves Pollock and deals with Stylistic Inversion (SI) or as the authors prefer ''non-clitic subject related inversion''. SI is the phenomena in French when the subject follows the verb, for example (Kayne & Pollock's (47) p.15 and (59) p. 28)

1. le jour où a téléphoné Jean ('the day when has telephoned J') 2. Il faut que parte Jean. ('it is-necessary that leave J')

Kayne & Pollock show that this is constrained to third person sentences with a lexical subject only and argue that these contain a silent preverbal clitic. The authors suggest that the lexical subject starts out as the specifier of a larger DP containing the silent clitic. When the lexical subject moves out of the spec-IP position to spec-FP it leaves behind the silent clitic. IP moves past the spec FP to another projection they call GP. So (1) would derive as follows (Kayne & Pollock's (48) p. 15) where SCL stands for Silent Clitic, and '':'' separates an index from the term it indexes.

[IP Jean-SCL a téléphoné] [FP Jean:i F [IP t:i -SCL a téléphoné] ] [GP [IP t:i -SCL a téléphoné]j G [FP Jean:i F t:j] ]

The second article in this collection ''On the Left Edge'' is a reply to McCloskey (1999), who argues for ''a class of rightward movements applying in the derivation of phonological form (PF) representations'' (p. 50). Kayne argues against this hypothesis by using English counterparts to McCloskey's Irish data.

3. Even if we left, he would stay. 4. *If we left even, he would stay. Grammatical Irish equivalent

Kayne argues that this data can be accounted for using Heavy-NP shift and a split CP projection. The Heavy-NP moves to a position within CP but higher than the interrogative before the predicate phrase is preposed. Kayne argues that this is supported cross- linguistically as Amharic has a similar structure in 'if' clauses.

The third article is a review of Paola Benincà's volume on 'La variazione sintattica'. This collection of work comprises eleven articles, all but one new article, have been previously published in the preceding twenty years. Kayne divides his review into three sections. The first is a brief section on the background to studying dialect syntax. The second and third sections mirror the two sections of Benincà's volume: 'Subject clitics and null subjects' and 'Diachronic syntax'. The former section focuses on modern Italian dialects and the latter on medieval dialects. In these two sections, Kayne reviews each of the articles presented. He concludes that Benincà has ''brought together, enriching both considerably, syntactic theory and dialect syntax more generally'' (p. 64).

The fourth article titled ''Here and There'' and deals with demonstrative there/here. He argues that demonstrative 'there' is not a case of locative 'there' in reduced relative clauses (p. 67). Rather locative 'there' is the same as demonstrative 'there' but with an unrealized noun (PLACE) and determiner. Non-locative 'there' follows the same rule but with an unrealized noun (THING) instead of PLACE, both of which ''must be licensed by a locative adposition'' (p. 76). Examples are Kayne's (1), (2) and (3b) p. 65.

5. John lives there. LOCATIVE 6. John spoke thereof. NON-LOCATIVE 7. that there book, them there books DEMONSTRATIVE

Kayne uses evidence from Italian 'a/ci' to support a locative and not dative adposition.

The fifth article ''Prepositions as Probes'' argues that some pre- and postpositions (specifically French 'à') are probes in the Chomsky (2004) sense (p.85). Using data from French causatives and subject- preceding dative prepositions (à), Kayne argues that these are not ordinary prepositional phrases, nor are the causatives instances of control but rather sentences like (8) below (Kayne's (12) p. 87) are due to raising or ECM (p. 92).

8. J'ai fait manger la tarte à Jean. ('I have made/had eat the pie to Jean')

Kayne argues that 'à' is a functional head above the causative and that 'Jean' in example (8) starts as the subject of the infinitive 'manger' (p.98). He also argues for a link between French causatives and English double object constructions.

The sixth article ''Pronouns and Their Antecedents'' argues that ''Binding should be rethought in movement terms even more generally, including what we think of as Condition C effects'' (p. 105). Kayne argues against Lasnik's (1976) 'accidental coreference' for reflexives by demonstrating that all examples of co-reference are the result of movement.

The seventh article is titled ''On Some Prepositions that look DP- Internal: English 'of' and French 'de'''. Kayne proposes that prepositions can merge outside the VP in sentences like (9) and (10). He argues that there is no need for a 'readjustment' rule as per Chomsky (1977).

9. John has lots of money. 10. Jean a beaucoup d'argent.

Kayne suggests that 'lots of money' or 'beaucoup d'argent' are not constituents (p. 139). Kayne uses arguments from Case theory to support this contention. He suggests that Case is limited to lexical items within the DP (p. 142) and that there are unpronounced elements such as AMOUNT or NUMBER in French and English to account for this.

The eighth article, titled ''A Note on the Syntax of Quantity in English,'' expands upon the arguments given in the previous chapter on 'few', 'little', 'many' and 'much'. He argues that 'few', 'little', 'many' and 'much' are adjectival modifiers, which modify an unpronounced element, for example 'few' and 'little' modify NUMBER and 'many' or 'much' modify AMOUNT and not the noun which follows them. Therefore in the sentence given in (11) the DP would have the underlying structure of (12) (Kayne's examples (36) and (39) p. 180).

11. John has few books. 12. few NUMBER books

Kayne argues that NUMBER can optionally be either singular or non- singular but not plural. When NUMBER is singular, 'few' is then realised as 'a few' in a similar way to 'a small' in the sentence below (p. 190, ex 110).

13. A small number of linguists went to that conference.

However, Kayne develops this argument by claiming that when NUMBER is singular it requires another adjective (GOOD) to modify it in addition to 'few'. This adjective does not have to be pronounced (examples (136) and (137)).

14. John has a good few books. 15. John has a GOOD few NUMBER(sing.) books.

The ninth article is called ''Antisymmetry and Japanese.'' Kayne's starting hypothesis is that all languages have the syntactic structure Specifier-Head-Complement (p.215). He argues that OV word order is derived by movement of the Complement to a higher Specifier position above V. Kayne argues that 'Antisymmetry' affects many areas of Japanese syntax; including the position of objects, relative pronouns and head finality. Kayne suggests that while Japanese does not possess relative pronouns, an antisymmetrical account for their absence is possible (p. 218). Kayne also notes in terms of head finality that languages are not consistently head-final or head-initial and follows Kroch (2001) in his analysis. Kayne argues that Japanese particles 'wa' and 'ga' might actually be head-initial (p.220). Kayne supports his arguments for 'Antisymmetry' by discussion of a variety of cross-linguistic gaps, including serial verbs, adverbs, heavy NPs and DP.

The tenth article ''Silent Years, Silent Hours'' continues Kayne's previous discussion of silent elements, for example NUMBER and AMOUNT. In this article he extends this analysis to COLOR, YEAR, AGE, HOUR and TIME. Kayne argues that when giving an age there is a silent element YEAR, which excludes interpretations of MONTHS, WEEKS or DAYS. For example, in the sentence (16) below, it clearly has the meaning given in (17). Examples are Kayne's (24) and (28).

16. John is three. 17. is three YEARS

Kayne later argues that YEARS is actually YEAR based on comparative data from French and Italian. He claims that ''silent YEAR is possible ... in a given language only if in that language either pre- nominal adjectives or overt pre-nominal classifier without (the equivalent of) 'of' can be unaccompanied by a plural morpheme'' (p. 254-255). He concludes this chapter by suggesting that ''this type of silent element may turn out to constitute a more important probe into UG than might have been thought (p. 260).

The eleventh article ''Some Remarks on Agreement and Heavy NP Shift'' deals with a variety of English that allows for verbal agreement with another argument than the subject. This was first reported by Kimball & Aissen (1971).

18. The people who John think should be invited.

Kayne suggests that this is not common cross-linguistically and therefore any account should not over-generate instances of this structure. Kayne argues that in such sentences there is an ''unpronounced auxiliary'' that John, in (1), agrees with and the wh- phrase agrees with 'think' (p. 264). Kayne argues that in this variety of English the wh-phrase moves through the VP and that agreement becomes obligatory. This could account for the difference with 'standard' English, which does not allow this kind of wh-phrase movement (p. 267-8).

In this chapter, Kayne also discusses 'Heavy-NP Shift'. He argues that Heavy-NP shift is actually a case of leftward movement but is only available in those VO languages that do not have ''its D DP final'' (p.273) as Haitian and Gun or lack of initial D as in Chinese (p.274). Kayne notes that Chinese must have an unpronounced D but surmises that this ''must be 'final' in the sense of Haitian and Gun D'' (footnote 33 p. 274).

The final article ''Some Notes on Comparative Syntax: With Special Reference to English and French'' is a defence of the comparative approach. Kayne argues that comparative syntax is necessary to discover parametric differences between languages and to use these to gain insight on language universals. Kayne discusses what is meant by the term 'parameter' and argues for the importance of microparameter and macroparameter studies. He suggests that the former ''is the closest we can come, at the present time, to a controlled experiment in comparative syntax'' (p.282) as small differences can be examined to see what other syntactic properties cluster. Kayne provides more data on pronounced and unpronounced elements (e.g. French -aine vs. English -AINE with numbers, French 'de' and English OF). Kayne concludes this article, and this book with the following: ''Comparative syntax has become an indispensable, if not privileged, part of our attempt to understand the (syntactic component of the) human language faculty'' (p.333).


This collection of articles is clearly aimed at other syntacticians. Kayne's arguments are very carefully and logically presented, moving from one step to the next before reaching often quite surprising conclusions. Kayne draws on information from a variety of different languages to support his cross-linguistic comparative approach and argues that this is crucial to a better understanding of the human language faculty. The articles in this book go into considerable detail about the syntactic phenomenon under investigation. It has not been possible in this review to examine many of the arguments given but hopefully a flavour of each chapter's content has been provided.


Benincà, P. (1994) ''La variazione sintattica: Studia di dialettologica italiana.'' Quaderni patavini di lingüística. Monografie 3. Unipress, Papua.

Chomsky, N. (1977) ''On wh-movement,'' in P. W. Culicover, T. Wasow, and A. Akmajian (eds.) 'Formal Syntax.' Academic Press, New York, pgs 71-132.

Chomsky, N. (2004) ''Beyond Explanatory Adequacy,'' in A. Belletti (ed.) 'Structures and Beyond.' Oxford University Press, New York, pgs 104-131.

Kimball, J. & J. Aissen (1971) ''I think, You think, He think,'' Linguistic Inquiry 2: 242-246.

Kroch, A. S. (2001) ''Syntactic Change,'' in M. Baltin and C. Collins (eds.) 'The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory'. Blackwell, Malden, MA, pgs 699-729.

Lasnik, H. (1976) ''Remarks on Coreference,'' Linguistic Analysis 2:1- 22.

McCloskey, J. (1999) ''On the Right Edge in Irish,'' Syntax: 189-209.


I am a first year PhD student at University of Newcastle. My PhD deals with the syntactic development of English learners of French in an instructed environment. The study is cross-sectional and will look at students after one, four and seven years of instruction. French and English exemplify parametric variation in terms of verb-raising. French allows finite verbs to raise and English does not. Specifically I elicit production data on negation, adverb placement, subject and object clitics to provide evidence of (or lack of) parameter re-setting. My study will test a variety of hypotheses on Initial State and parameter re- setting over time.