The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 10/22 - Colin Davis (MIT)

Speaker: Colin Davis (MIT)
Title: The nature of overlapping A-bar chains as revealed by parasitic gaps (NELS practice)
Time: Tuesday, October 22nd, 1pm – 2pm
Location: 32-D461

Abstract: The intricate properties of parasitic gaps (PGs) have long enriched research on the syntax of (A-bar) movement (Engdahl 1983, Nissenbaum 2000, Legate 2003, Overfelt 2015, Branan 2017, Kotek & Erlewine 2018, Fox & Nissenbaum 2018). In this work, I use PG licensing in English to reveal a novel generalization about derivations where two A-bar movement chains pass through vP. 

Generalization: If XP1 and XP2 move to become A-bar specifiers of vP such that XP1 c-commands XP2, then the final surface position of XP1 c-commands the final surface position of XP2.

While this is surprising for some theories of movement, I argue that it is a natural consequence of Cyclic Linearization (CL; Fox & Pesetsky 2005, a.o.), which predicts that the relative order established for the constituents of a given phase must be preserved throughout the derivation. I also show that CL interacts with the distribution of covert movement to yield Pesetsky’s (1982) Path Containment Condition (PCC).