Adjunctions and Projections in Syntax

M. J. Speas, 1986

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This dissertation is a study of the principle which determine well-formed underlying structures.  In the first Chapter, a theory of projection of syntactic configurations from the lexicon is presented, in which the restrictions on underlying domination relations encoded in the X-bar schem are shown to be derivable from general principles.  The proposal is based on the theory of lexical representations of Higginbotham (1985, 1986), in which words of all lexical categories (N, V, A, P) are though to have a "theta grid" as part of their lexical entry.  It is argued that the relations which hold among these grids are sufficient to give all the information that is needed to deduce the domination relations which result when these lexical entries are projected from the lexicon.  Lexical items which lack theta grids, i.e. those of the non-lexical or "functional" categories (INFL, COMP, DETERMINER), are argued to differ significantly from lexical categories in the way that they project.  The first Chapter concludes with a discussion of the properties of adjunction constructions, which points out that the claims of May (1985) about domination relations in LF adjunction structures lead to the conclusion that such structures are always three-dimensional.

The second chapter deals with linguistic variations at the level of underlying structure, exploring the parameters which have come to be associated with the term "configurationality".  It is pointed out that the projection of  lexical selection requirements is potentially open to variation in both the type of structure projected and the types of elements which may fill projected positions.  It is proposed that these two types of variation ought to be kept distinct.

The diverse data which have been adduced as evidence for the first type of variation, i.e., variation in the structural distinction between subject and object, are brough together in order to clarify the issue.  While it is often assumed that "nonconfigurational" languages are those with "flat" structures, the data actually seem to call for some sort of dual representation, where one of the representations is universily asymmetric.  Thus, the evidence suggests that the structures projected from lexical entries are at the most abstract level immune from variation.

The categorial realization of lexical requirements, on the other hand, is subject to variation.  It is proposed in this chapter that languages vary as to whether theta grid positions may be discharged in the morphology (given a particular view of the Mophological Component).  Under this proposal, in certain languages, theta roles are discharged by morphemes; nonetheless overt nominals in such languages are in argument positions, and form a CHAIN with the theta-role bearer.  Standard syntactic tests indicate that this view makes the correct predictions.

In Chapter 3, the morphology of one such language, Navajo, is examined in detail.  The status of Navajo prefixes which mark subject and object agreement is considered.  Arguments are given that these agreement prefixes must be infixes, that is, that they must be inserted into a discontinuous lexical item.  The result is a morphological model in which the pronominal prefixes are available to discharge theta positions.

It is then shown that the available syntactic evidence motivates an analysis of Navajo in which overt nominals are in argument, not adjunct, positions.  This is just as predicted by the parameter proposed in the previous Chapter.

The syntactic facts which have led previous researchers to classify Navajo as nonconfigurational are considered in Chapter 4.  These facts involve some curious restrictions on the interpretation of null pronominals, which seem to violate binding conditions.  It is claimed that the data reveal a parallelism restriction on the assignment of Grammatical Relations, which is best handled if the relevant constructions are treated as Across-the Board (ATB) constructions.

After an ATB account of the Navajo facts is presented in general terms, the question of the status of these representations in grammatical theory is addressed.  It turns out that all of the constructions for which an ATB account has been proposed share certain properties with adjunction constructions.  In particular, they involve structures which are formed by adding to the structure projected from lexical entries.  It is suggested that parallelism effects may occur whenever the link between two sub-parts of a structure does not follow from the principles of projection from the lexicon.

Thesis supervisor:         Kenneth Locke Hale

Title:                             Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Linguistics

Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                  9

            0.1       Modularity:  subsystems, levels and components                                    10

            0.2       Internal and external licensing conditions                                                13

                        0.2.1    Relating the levels                                                                     16

            0.3       D-structure                                                                                           17

                        0.3.1    From phrase structure rules to licensing conditions                     17

                           X-bar theory                                                                20

                           INFL and the headedness of S                          21

                           The specifier and head of S"                                          25

                           The theta criterion                                                         26

                           Adjuncts                                                                       27

            0.4       The relevance of D-structure to other syntactic levels                 28

                        0.4.1    The projection principle revisited                                               28

                        0.4.2    Barriers and L-marking                                                 31

                        0.4.3    Complete functional complexes as binding domains                    32

                        0.4.4    Theta positions in CHAINS                                                      33

            0.5       Parametric variation                                                                              34

            0.6       Overview of the thesis                                                               36

Chapter 1         Projection from the lexicon                                                                    41

            1.1       Background                                                                                          42

                        1.1.1    Phrase markers                                                             42

                           Node admissibility conditions                                        43

                           Reduced phrase markers                                              52

                        1.1.2    Thematic grids                                                              54

                        1.1.3    Discharge of thematic positions                                     60

                           Theta-marking                                                              62

                           Theta-binding                                                               65

                           Theta-identification                                                       66

                           Autonymous theta marking                                            67

            1.2       Local relations and constituency                                                            69

                        1.2.1    The role of the X" schema                                                         72

                        1.2.2    Grid relations                                                                            76

                        1.2.3    Conclusions                                                                              88

            1.3       Functional categories                                                                            91

                        1.3.1    The structure of IP and DP                                                       97

                        1.3.2    Function features                                                                      97

                        1.3.3    Deriving the surface order                                                         101

                        1.3.4    The Spec position                                                                     104

                        1.3.5    Some consequences of the proposal                                          107

            1.4       Adjunction constructions                                                                       115

            1.5       The X" schema revisited                                                                        117

Chapter 2         Configurationality: variation in the projection of structure                        125

            2.1       What is a "nonconfigurational" language?                                               125

                        2.1.1    A digression about word order                                      128

            2.2       Sources of D-structure variation                                                            132

                        2.2.1    X" theory and the projection principle                            133

                        2.2.2    The dual representation hypothesis                                            135

            2.3       Variation in structure                                                                             139

                        2.3.1    Subject/object asymmetries                                                       140

                        2.3.2    Explaining structural variation                                        152

                        2.3.3    The structure of Walpiri                                                            155

                        2.3.4    The structure of Japanese                                                          161

                        2.3.5    The structure of Malayalam                                                       168

                        2.3.6    The structure of Hungarian                                                        178

                        2.3.7    VSO languages                                                             190

                        2.3.8    Summary of evidence                                                                193

            2.4       Variation in categorial realization: on pronominal argument

languages                                                                                              195

2.4.1    Jelinek"s proposal                                                                     195

2.4.2    Some problems                                                                        198

2.4.3    The saturation parameter                                                           208

2.4.4    Consequences of the saturation parameter                                 213

Chapter 3         Navajo nominals and pronominal infixes                                                218

            3.1       Navajo infixes                                                                                       219

                        3.1.1    Navajo verb morphology                                                          222

                        3.1.2    Interrupted synthesis                                                                 223

                        3.1.3    Three arguments for an infixation account of Navajo verb

                                    formation                                                                                  227

                           Lexical relatedness                                                        227

                           Mode choice and Da-shift                                             231

                           Ni-absorption                                                               243

                           Evidence for concatenative phonology               248

                                       Summary                                                          251

                        3.1.4    Infixation frames                                                                       253

            3.2       Navajo overt nominals are in argument positions                                    260

            3.3       Conclusion                                                                                           266

Chapter 4         An Across-the-Board account of Navajo relative clauses                      269

            4.1       Introduction                                                                                          269

            4.2       Navajo sentence structure                                                                     273

                        4.2.1    Simple sentences                                                                      273

                        4.2.2    Relative clauses                                                                        277

            4.3       Parallelism in relative clause constructions                                              279

            4.4       An Across-the-Board treatment of Navajo relative clauses                    291

            4.5       On the inadequacy of a simple pro-drop account of Navajo                   298

            4.6       On mapping conventions                                                                       313

            4.7       Formal properties of ATB representations                                             320

                        4.7.1    The coordinate structure constraint                                            320

                        4.7.2    Williams (1978) ATB format                                                     322

                        4.7.3    Goodall (1984) Union of Phrase Markers                                 324

                        4.7.4    ATB effects in non-coordinate constructions                              330

                        4.7.5    Other parallel constructions                                                       333

                           Bella Coola                                                                  334

                           Hopi                                                                             338

                        4.7.6    The Navajo case                                                                      340

                           Base generation of parallel pronominals             341

                           LF extraction and parallel variables                               344

                           Adjunction, embedding and generalized

transformations                                                 347