The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Colloquium 11/13 - Stefan Keine (UCLA)

Speaker: Stefan Keine (UCLA)
Title: Crossover asymmetries (joint work w/ Rajesh Bhatt)
Time: Friday, November 13th, 3:30pm – 5pm

Abstract: We investigate and analyze a crossover asymmetry in Hindi scrambling: such scrambling is not subject to (secondary) weak crossover but at the same time shows clear (secondary) strong crossover effects. This asymmetry provides empirical evidence that the two types of crossover should be analytically decoupled from each other, and it sheds light on factors that condition weak and strong crossover. We pursue the view that a movement type’s crossover profile is not arbitrary but instead correlates with independently motivated properties of this movement type. Our investigation finds evidence that weak crossover is conditioned by the landing site of movement, while strong crossover is determined by properties of the launching site. More specifically, we propose that weak crossover follows from a syntactic restriction on the placement of Büring’s 2004 β-operator, which is required for pronominal binding from the landing site. Strong crossover, on the other hand, is determined by the amount of structure present in the launching site, which can itself be derived from Wholesale Late Merger and nominal licensing along the lines suggested by Takahashi & Hulsey 2009. In addition to contributing to our understanding of crossover phenomena, our argument also has implications for the A/A’-nature of scrambling (e.g., Webelhuth 1989, Mahajan 1990) and movement-type asymmetries more generally.