The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 11/6 - Itai Bassi on Bruening (2014)

Speaker: Itai Bassi on Bruening (2014) “Precede and command revisited
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 6, 1-2pm
Location: 32-D461

I will present Benjamin Bruening’s (2014) paper ”Precede and command revisited” (click here for a link). In this paper Bruening argues that the relation of c-command is irrelevant to binding phenomena, and proposes to replace it with a coarser notion of command, “phase command”.  To give a taste of the argumentation, consider the known fact that (1) feels like a principle C violation, although “her” doesn’t c-command “Rosa”; no constituency test tells us that “her” in (1) forms a constituent with “about Rosa’s son” to the exclusion of everything else.

(1) *We talked with her_1 about Rosa_1’s son. (Reinhart 1976)
Furthermore, Bruening argues that precedence also plays a role in accounting for binding phenomena. Hence “precede and (phase-)command” is the correct relationship underlying binding effects.
We will discuss and evaluate Bruening’s attempt to derive “precede and command” from a particular view of the grammar where sentences are built left-to-right, phase by phase.