Locality in Movement

M. J. McGinnis, 1998

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In this dissertation, I demonstrate that the feature-based Attract theory of syntactic movement solves several empirical challenges for Relativized Minimality, while incorporating its key insights.  Chapter 1 introduces the theory of phrase structure, syntactic movement, and abstract Case to be adopted throughout the dissertation.  This chapter also lays out a cross-linguistic typology of possibilities for A-movement to the subject position.

Chapter 2 concerns cases of advancing, where the argument generated highest is attracted by the feature (EPP) driving movement to the subject position.  Here locality interacts with a condition (Case Identification) preventing an argument from "pied-piping" to check EPP if it checks Case elsewhere.  In some instances, advancing is forced jointly by locality and Case Identification.  Given two equally local arguments, Case Identification determines which can be attracted to the subject position.  However, newly identified "superraising" violations support the view that locality is respected even if the highest argument has already checked Case.

In the first part of Chapter 3, I argue for the central empirical proposal of this dissertation, Lethal Ambiguity: an anaphoric dependency cannot be established between two specifiers of the same head.  I contend that one argument can A-scramble past another only by entering, or leapfrogging through, a multiple-specifier configuration with it.  In either case, no anaphoric dependency can be established between the two arguments.  In the second part of Chapter 3, I present cases of leapfrogging in A-movement to the subject position, also subject to Lethal Ambiguity.

Chapter 4 extends the empirical coverage of Lethal Ambiguity to answer a long standing question from the literature - namely, why anaphoric clitics cannot be object clitics.  I argue that Lethal Ambiguity rules out the object clitic derivation from anaphors because an anaphoric object checks Case in a multiple-specifier configuration with the would-be antecedent.  I adopt a passive-like derivation for the well-formed anaphoric clitic construction, where the clitic is a categorially underspecified external argument.  Since this argument cannot be attracted to check Case or EPP, the object can skip over it to the subject position without Lethal Ambiguity arising.  The remainder of the chapter is devoted to other potential cases of skipping.

Thesis Supervisor:         Alec Marantz

Title;                             Professor of Linguistics

Table of Contents

Chapter 1         Locality and case                                                                                  13

            1          Feature-based locality                                                                           14

            2          Locality and case                                                                                  23

                        2.1       Move-a                                                                                    25

                        2.2       Attract F                                                                                  30

            3          Cross-linguistic variation                                                                       40

                        3.1       Case suppression                                                                      41

                        3.2       Varieties of Case                                                                      46

            4          Equidistance and superraising revisited                                      57

            5          Outline of the thesis                                                                               61

Chapter 2         Advancing                                                                                            63

            1          Transitives                                                                                            65

            2          Double object constructions                                                                  68

                        2.1       Short passives                                                                          69

                        2.2       Passive alternations                                                                   77

            3          Dative subjects                                                                         80

            4          Absolute locality                                                                                   89

            5          Summary                                                                                              99

Chapter 3         Leapfrogging                                                                                        101

            1          A-scrambling                                                                                        102

                        1.1       Movement into multiple specifiers                                              108

                        1.2       A-scrambling obeys locality                                                      113

                                    1.2.1    Advancing of idiom chunks                                           116

                                    1.2.2    Leapfrogging of idiom chunks                            119

                                    1.2.3    Leapfrogging and floated quantifiers                              121

                                    1.2.4    Against skipping                                                           123

                        1.3       Summary                                                                                  125

            2          Lethal Ambiguity                                                                                   126

                        2.1       Japanese                                                                                  128

                        2.2       Georgian                                                                                  131

                        2.3       Hindi                                                                                        135

                        2.4       Scrambling into spec-RP                                                           136

            3          Leapfrogging to the subject position                                                      139

                        3.1       Long passives                                                                           142

                                    3.1.1    Obligatory long passives                                               143

                                    3.1.2    Symmetric passives                                                       146

                        3.2       Structural/inherent alternations                                       149

                        3.3       Clitic doubling                                                               155

            4          Overt movement of a lower argument                                        163

Chapter 4         Skipping                                                                                               171

            1          Anaphoric clitics                                                                                   172

                        1.1       Transitives with an anaphoric clitic                                             174

                        1.2       Indirect objects                                                             177

                        1.3       Anaphoric clitics and ECM verbs                                              184

                        1.4       Arbitrary agents                                                                        185

                        1.5       C-command and binding                                                           192

            2          Raising in English                                                                                  198

                        2.1       The experiencer c-commands the embedded clause                   201

                        2.2       The embedded subject raises past the experiencer                     209

            3          Ditransitive unaccusatives in Georgian                                        215

            4          Summary                                                                                              217