The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 10/16 - Norvin Richards and Coppe van Urk

Speakers: Norvin Richards and Coppe van Urk
Title: On the architecture of long-distance extraction: Evidence from Dinka
Location: 32-D461
Date/Time: Tue, Oct 16, 1-2p

This is a practice talk for NELS.

In this talk, we present novel data from the Nilo-Saharan language Dinka, a language in which the syntax of successive-cyclic movement is remarkably transparent. We show that Dinka provides strong support for the view of long-distance dependencies developed by Chomsky (1986, 2000, 2001, 2008). In particular, Dinka offers clear evidence that long-distance extraction proceeds through the edge of every verb phrase and clause on the path of movement. In addition to this, Dinka offers insight into the limitations of successive-cyclic movement. We show that the profile of extraction in Dinka argue for the idea that extraction is accompanied by successive Agree relations between phase heads on the path of movement, as proposed also in recent work on Tagalog and Hungarian by (Rackowski and Richards 2005) and Den Dikken (2009, 2012a,b). To reconcile these two conclusions, we develop a variant of Rackowski and Richards’ (2005) proposal, in which both intermediate movement to every phase edge and successive Agree relations between phase heads are necessary steps in establishing a long-distance dependency.