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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Locality in A-Movement Add Dissertation
Author: Martha McGinnis Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Completed in: 1998
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Director(s): Noam Chomsky
Alec Marantz
David Pesetsky

Abstract: In this dissertation, I demonstrate that the feature-based Attract theory of syntactic movement solves several empirical challenges for Relativized Minimality, while incorporating its key insights.

Chapter 1 introduces the theory of phrase structure, syntactic movement, and abstract Case to be adopted throughout the dissertation. This chapter also lays out a cross-linguistic typology of possibilities for A-movement to the subject position.

Chapter 2 concerns cases of advancing, where the argument generated highest is attracted by the feature (EPP) driving movement to the subject position. Here locality interacts with a condition (Case Identification) preventing an argument from 'pied-piping' to check EPP if it checks Case elsewhere. In some instances, advancing is forced jointly by locality and Case Identification. Given two equally local arguments, Case Identification determines which can be attracted to the subject position. However, newly identified 'superraising' violations support the view that locality is respected even if the highest argument has already checked Case.

In the first part of Chapter 3, I argue for the central empirical proposal of this dissertation, Lethal Ambiguity: an anaphoric dependency cannot be established between two specifiers of the same head. I contend that one argument can A-scramble past another only by entering, or leapfrogging through, a multiple-specifier configuration with it. In either case, no anaphoric dependency can be established between the two arguments. In the second part of Chapter 3, I present cases of leapfrogging in A-movement to the subject position, also subject to Lethal Ambiguity.

Chapter 4 extends the empirical coverage of Lethal Ambiguity to answer a long-standing question from the literature--namely, why anaphoric clitics cannot be object clitics. I argue that Lethal Ambiguity rules out the object clitic derivation for anaphors because an anaphoric object checks Case in a multiple-specifier configuration with the would-be antecedent. I adopt a passive-like derivation for the well-formed anaphoric clitic construction, where the clitic is a categorially underspecified external argument. Since this argument cannot be attracted to check Case or EPP, the object can skip over it to the subject position without Lethal Ambiguity arising. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to other potential cases of skipping.