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Academic Paper

Title: The syntax of PP-adverbs within English determiner phrases
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The current article explores the distribution of PP-adverbs, such as this month, this year etc., within English determiner phrases. Examples extracted from English newspapers show that PP-adverbs surprisingly separate head nouns from their PP-complements (i.e. of-phrases), e.g. the election this month of the first female president. At other times, PP-adverbs follow PP-complements, e.g. the election of the first female president this month. Assuming that these PP-adverbs have a null preposition (Larson 1985; McCawley 1988; Caponigro & Pearl 2008, 2009; Shun'ichiro 2013), I put forward three possible syntactic analyses to account for the examples above: (i) adjunction of both the PP-complement and the PP-adverb; (ii) leftward movement of the head noun or the noun phrase; and (iii) rightward movement of the PP-complement. Following Stowell (1981), Higginbotham (1983) and Anderson (1984), the adjunction proposal argues that both PP-adverbs and of-phrases are adjuncts, thus being freely ordered in the nominal hierarchy (Bresnan 1982; Svenonius 1994; Stroik & Putnam 2013). In contrast, the leftward movement analysis respects Kayne's (1994) Antisymmetric Theory of Linearization and argues that the of-phrase in the examples above is still a genuine complement, but the head noun, or sometimes the noun phrase, moves leftwards to a position higher than spec,FP where PP-adverbs are situated. As for the rightward movement account, it follows the leftward movement in treating the of-phrase as a complement but differs in that it extraposes the PP-complement outside PP-adverbs and right-adjoins it inside the DP. The article shows that the first two proposals are untenable, and sometimes cannot derive the wanted data. The third account is superior in that it accounts for the required data as well as other island-sensitive facts.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 25, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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