SLASH propagation vs. internal merge: Rewind

Borsley R D rborsley at essex.ac.uk
Mon Jun 6 15:55:45 EST 2005


Tibor

Actually I also mentioned the comparative correlative construction, with
the following data:

No matter how clever the students (are) ___, ...
The students *(are) very clever.

I discuss this in my paper in HPSG 2004. It looks like a serious problem
for the copy theory of movement to me.

best

Bob


Prof. Robert D. Borsley
Department of Language and Linguistics
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
COLCHESTER CO4 3SQ, UK

rborsley at essex.ac.uk
tel: +44 1206 873762
fax: +44 1206 872198
http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~rborsley

On Mon, 6 Jun 2005, Tibor Kiss wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I would like to clarify what I had in mind when I posed my question.
>
> One point was to look at the empirical reasons for assuming that SLASH does
> not contain NONLOCAL information. The other point was to ask whether the
> distinction between partial filler-gap-identity vs. full identity could be
> made a crosstheoretical issue.
>
> It seems -- somewhat surprisingly -- that a competetive comparison of
> theories is not possible even in areas where the other theory (humbly
> referred to as a 'program') is lucid and clear, be it simply for the reason
> that we are short of empirical phenomena to justify a theoretical point.
>
> The following arguments in favour of a partial filler-gap-identity have been
> raised:
>
> 1) Partial VP topicalization and the LEX +/- contrast (Stefan Müller, Detmar
> Meurers)
> 2) Principle A and Principle C reconstruction (TK, Stefan Müller)
> 3) Pseudo-Cleft (Bob Borsley)
> 4) Parasitic Gaps (Howard Gregory, Carl Pollard)
> 5) Chamorro-type SLASH marking (Carl Pollard)
>
> I think that the following remarks are ok:
>
> Ad 1) [and 5)]
>
> The analysis suggested by Stefan and Detmar assumes that something is a head
> (LEX +) at its extraction site but has to be a phrase (LEX -) at its landing
> site. The problem is that the phenomenon is not pervasive, i.e. we know of
> very little cases where the landing site type is forced to be different from
> the extraction site type. The partial VP analysis seems to cover the facts
> but that's it. In addition, it rests on a dubious feature (LEX), which is
> NONLOCAL to make the analysis work and for no other reason. [** Fn: People
> who know my work on German infinitives will recall that I explicitly
> preferred not to have an analysis of PVP instead of adopting one akin to
> Stefan and Detmar's solution.]
>
> In any case, I don't believe that the copy theory of movement can be
> seriously challenged with an obscure construction and the difference between
> LEX+ and LEX-.
>
> I think that the Chamorro-case should be taken in the same way: The
> phenomenon is not pervasive and in fact, we don't know whether languages
> exist which actually mark an XP[SLASH Y[QUE ZP]].
>
> Ad 2)
>
> These cases show that the 'standard theory of binding' in HPSG (PS 1994) has
> problems with reconstruction and nothing more, as has already been hinted at
> by Stefan, who offers the following example:
>
> > (2) a. Kennt er_*i Karls_i Freund?
> >     b. [Karls_i Freund]_j kennt er_*i  _j.
>
> While this example could be discussed away by assuming that Principle C does
> not exist, we get the same problems with Principle A, witness
>
> [1] Which picture of himself_i/j does John_i say Peter_j likes.
>
> At first, [1] seems to show that Principle A in HPSG does it right, because
> both indexations are surprisingly possible. Note, however, that structurally
> identical examples in German and other languages (one could call it *the
> majority*) do not allow the _i-coindexing. So an appropriate cousin of [1]
> runs into the same problems as Stefan's (2b).
>
> Ad 3)
>
> I have never worked on pseudo-cleft, but in order to make the contrast work,
> one would have to assume that pseudo-clefts are derivationally related to
> the ungrammatical examples provided by Bob.
>
> > What he may do ___ is go home.
> > *He may do go home.
>
> Ad 4)
>
> The parasitic gaps seem to be the most interesting candidates. However,
> Carl's recent email made it clear to me that they seem to be as problematic
> to HPSG as they possibly are to MP. Carl points out the ungrammaticality of
> [2] can be derived from the observation that "there is no way for the gap in
> the upper filler (i.e. _i, TK) to get linked with the object gap."
>
> [2] *[Without even reading _i]_j, [I don't know [[how many reports]_i [Kim
> [[filed _i] _j]]]]
>
> But how can this example be excluded in HPSG? There is no general --
> possibly non-local -- condition to the effect that unlinked
> filler-gap-relations are illicit in HPSG (there could be a coindexation
> _i/_k, where all the information about _i is identical to all the
> information about _k).
>
> One could add a constraint requiring that roots do not contain SLASHes
> (while [2] does). However, such a constraint misses the generalization
> (which is taken seriously in MP work, but originally led to things like the
> Subcategorization Principle) that roots do not like any open dependency
> (i.e. a root with open SLASH is as out as a sentence with SUBCAT <NP>).
>
> Even if we ignore this and include such a constraint, how do we block
> something like [3]?
>
> [3] [The book]_k,  [[without even reading _k]_j, [I don't know [[how many
> reports]_i [Kim [[filed _i] _j]]]]]
>
> In sum, if I see this correctly, while one may have a hunch that the copy
> theory has its problems, it seems that we are unable to take advantage of
> these. How unfortunate.
>
> With kind regards,
>
> Tibor
>
> ------------------------------------------
> Prof. Dr. Tibor Kiss
> Sprachwissenschaftliches Institut - Ruhr-Universität Bochum
> +49-234-3225114 // +49-177-7468265
>
>
>
>



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