The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 5/18 - Shigeru Miyagawa (MIT), Despina Oikonomou (HU-Berlin)

Speaker: Shigeru Miyagawa (MIT), Despina Oikonomou (HU-Berlin)
Title: Case and A/A’-movements
Time: Tuesday, May 18th, 1pm – 2pm

Abstract: We argue for a new way to look at the constellation of data having to do with Condition C reconstruction effects. We propose that Case, which is a key component of Wholesale Late Merger (Takahashi 2006, Takahashi & Hulsey 2009 (TTH)), is an issue not about the head of the chain, as TTH argue, but rather it should be viewed as an issue associated with the lower copy:

Case Interpretation Requirement (CIR)
Case-marked copy of movement must be interpreted in full.

This accounts for the familiar cases of Condition C reconstruction effects reported in the literature. It also accounts for A-movement scrambling that unexpectedly triggers a Condition C reconstruction effect (Hindi, Bhatt and Keine 2019; Japanese, Saito 1992; Mongolian, Gong 2021). Here A-movement behaves like A’-movement because the lower copy is case-marked. Similar facts hold for the CLLD construction in some Romance languages (e.g., Cecchetto 2000).

We also argue that the CIR accounts for a decay in Condition C effect in long-distance wh-movement of DPs (Adger, et al. 2017; Bruening and Al-Khalaf 2017).

(1) ?*[Which criticism of Johni] did hei deny___?
(2) (?)[Which criticism of Johni] does hei think [CP that Mary believes___]?

Some linguists have argued that this decay indicates that there is no Condition C reconstruction effect in wh-DP-movement. We will argue instead that, due to the PIC, the LD-moved wh-phrase only has access to the intermediate copy in the lower Spec,CP (below he in (2)), which is a non-Case position. By the CIR, this intermediate copy need not be (fully) interpreted, thus leading to a decay in Condition C effect. In this way, the intermediate copy of wh-movement behaves similarly to the copy of A-movement. We will demonstrate that in languages in which the intermediate copy is case-marked (e.g., Greek, Japanese), there is no decay in Condition C effect whatsoever regardless of the distance between the LD-moved element and the pronoun.