The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 2/23 - Enrico Flor (MIT) and Stan Zompì (MIT)

Speaker: Enrico Flor (MIT) and Stan Zompì (MIT)
Title: CSC-Violating Head Movement in English Conditional Inversion
Time: Tuesday, February 23rd, 1pm – 2pm
Location: Zoom
Note: MIT Touchstone authentication will be required to enter this week’s Syntax Square zoom meeting.

Abstract: The ban on asymmetric extraction from coordinate structures, commonly known as Coordinate Structure Constraint, is crosslinguistically very robust and has found very few counterexamples in English (Postal 1998 and references therein). We document a new challenge to the general validity of CSC, represented by sentences like:

(1) Sadie would not have proposed, had Olivia ignored her calls and had forgotten her birthday.

(2) Should we support Carmen and she were to win, she would allow us to drive her Ferrari.

We call the construction exemplified by the antecedents of (1) and (2) Asymmetric Conditional Inversion (ACI). Assuming that Conditional Inversion involves T-to-C Head Movement (Pesetsky 1989, Iatridou & Embick 1994), we use interpretive evidence to argue that the only viable analysis of ACI sentences is one in which the Auxiliary is T-to-C extracted out of the first conjunct in violation of the CSC, as it is normally stated.