The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 11/14 - Zachary Satoshi Feldcamp (MIT)

Speaker: Zachary Satoshi Feldcamp (MIT)
Title: Paradoxical A-movement locality in locative inversion
Time: Tuesday, November 14th, 1pm – 2pm
Location: 32-D461

Abstract: Locative inversion has a locality paradox. It involves movement of PP over the would-be DP subject, and is restricted in non-finite clauses, like topics (Stowell 1981). Yet inversion only occurs when DP is in an exceptional rightward position (Doggett 2004), and otherwise adheres to A-movement locality conditions. In particular, I show that locative inversion cannot be formed via subextraction from DP, unlike PP topicalization.

I present an analysis that allows XP A-bar movement to exhibit A-movement locality. First, finite T has a disjunctive A-/A-bar probe. This allows XP with A-bar features to move to spec,TP, but only if there is no closer DP. We gain a new understanding of Barss’ generalization: reconstruction of DP into an XP predicate that undergoes A-bar remnant movement is impossible because DP could not have raised out of XP, XP being a closer goal to the disjunctive probe on T than DP.

Second, locality is based not on c-command, but on D-precedence: G D-precedes K iff G precedes K or G irreflexively dominates K. This allows XP with phi- or A-bar features to move to spec,TP over a c-commanding DP only when DP is linearized to the right of the position from which XP moves. I show that a key prediction is borne out: in passive constructions, rightward movement of the DP internal argument demotes DP and promotes the PP dative argument.