The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

24.956 Topics in Syntax (Johnson)

Topics in Syntax
Kyle Johnson
T 2-5

In the 1980’s, Elisabet Engdahl responded to the problems posed by reconstruction effects with an interesting proposal concerning the representations that the “movement” relation invokes. She suggested that movement produced multidominant phrase markers, and adopted the “Phrase Linking Grammars” that Stanley Peters was developing at the time. This seminar will examine how this thesis might play out with today’s syntactic tools. While her focus was almost exclusively on producing a working semantics for movement, ours will be to, first, better match that semantics with a working syntax and, second, relate those multidominant representations with the strings that movement creates. Our journey might include dalliances in: resumptive pronoun strategies, the structure of relative clauses, the internal organization of DPs, events and the semantics of quantification, linearization schemes, island effects, remnant movement, pied-piping, and the roots of the “Empty Category Principle.” We’ll review, and build upon, work by Sauerland, Fox, Elbourne, Nunes, Kayne and, of course, Engdahl.

Course requirements: a paper on a topic related to movement, linearization, quantification, ellipsis, binding theory, DPs, pronouns or syntax, and a short presentation of that paper in class.