The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling Lunch 4/9 - Shigeru Miyagawa

Speaker: Shigeru Miyagawa
Title: Distinguishing A- and A’-movements Without Reference to Case
Time: Thurs 4/9, 12:30-1:45
Place: 32-D461

In GB, A-movement was characterized in two, parallel ways. First, A-movement targets a potential theta position (thus A(rgument) movement) while A’-movement is to a non-theta position. Second, A-movement is Case-driven. The first distinction became obsolete with the advent of the predicate-internal subject hypothesis, which deprives Spec,TP of ever being a theta-position. This leaves only the second characterization for defining A-movement. S. Takahashi (2006) and S. Takahashi and Hulsey (in press, LI) propose an intriguing Case-based analysis for A-movement within MP. In this talk, I will suggest an alternative to Case by exploring instances of A-movement across a number of languages that do not involve Case (e.g., Finnish, Japanese). Based on these cases, I will introduce an entirely different approach to distinguishing A- and A’-movements that takes advantage of the phase architecture of grammar ? what I term the “Phase-Based Characterization of Chains” (PBCC) (Miyagawa, in press). This proposal notes that movements that do not cross a Transfer Domain have A-movement properties while those that cross a Transfer Domain have A’-properties. The analysis provides a straightforward account of not only the familiar A- and A’-movements including scrambling, but it also successfully accounts for more exotic and mysterious types of movements that rely on the notion of“mixed A/A’ position” found in languages such as Finnish (Holmberg and Nikanne 2002).

Miyagawa, Shigeru. In press. Why Agree? Why Move? Unifying Agreement-based and Discourse Configurational Languages. Linguistic Inquiry Monograph 54, MIT Press.