AW: SLASH propagation vs. internal merge: Rewind

Carl Pollard pollard at
Tue Jun 7 11:43:06 EST 2005

Hi Tibor,

You wrote:

  >From Carl's mail, re: Chamorro

  > 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]].
  > >>
  > I take you you advocate allowing for the possibility that
  > such languages do
  > exist?

  The problem is that we cannot definitely say that such languages do not
  exist. Personally, I would assume the type is unlikely, but I would not
  built an argument on top of this assumption.

You had asked for examples of what follows from the hypothesis that
SLASH values are _local_. The (putative) nonexistence of such
languages is an example.  If such languages are suddenly discovered,
the hypothesis would be falsified.

  >From Carl's mail, re: binding

  > [1] Which picture of himself_i/j does John_i say Peter_j likes.
  > ...
  > Does this remain true if LIKES is replaced by STOLE or DEFACED?

  I don't understand your question.

The question meant, if, in languages where the i-indexing on himself
is disallowed in the analog of (1), does this remain true if the
verb corresponding to LIKES is replaced by one that does not tend to
shift the (logophoric) center of consciousness?

You went on:

  HPSG-94 took it as a virtue that the
  _i-coindexation is not blocked, and I'd say that the _i-coindexation should
  be blocked in the majority of the cases in other languages, leaving [1] as a
  possible exception to a general rule. [Philological caveat: HPSG-94 did not
  speak about other languages than English, I know, but the analysis should
  scale up at least a little.]

There is a very extensive cross-linguistic literature about the conditions
under which (so-called) reflexive interpretations are affected/constrained by
not-strictly-syntactic factors. These factors are (1) exceedingly complex,
and (2) vary considerably from language to language. The story HPSG-94
told about English reflexives is simplistic -- see Pollard and Xue 2001
(in Syntax & Semantics 33 for a refinement). But I don't think you
can just say that, as you do, that "the _i-coindexation should be
blocked in the majority of cases in other languages" -- you have to go
language by language and see what factors, both syntactic and nonsyntactic,
are involved.

  Finally, Carl on parasitic gaps:

  > This is true, but this is not so much a bug in a certain account of
  >UDC's as it is is a general HPSG architectural bug, one that was first

  Well, it is an architectural bug and a theoretical bug,

A clearer way to express what I mean to express is: the architectural
bug prevents one from expressing the theory one would like to express.

  if you can follow my
  considerations re: [3].

  [3] [The book]_k,  [[without even reading _k]_j, [I don't know [[how many
  reports]_i [Kim [[filed _i] _j]]]]]

Not sure what you are referring to here. (3) sounds like gibberish to me,

  In any case, we cannot attack MP by first stating that we have a nice
  construction here, which unfortunately leads to peculiar consequences both
  from a formal-architectural and from a theoretical-empirical point of view.

My point was not to attack MP (others do it so much better than I
could ever hope to), but to call attention to a framework-internal
problem of HPSG94 that, among other things, makes it difficult to say
what I wanted to say about PG's. To put it in non-HPSG terms, if a we
think of a (nonparasitic) gap as a logical variable and the filler as
the binder, then we do not want to find other occurrences of the same
variable "higher up" (outside the scope of the binder).

  In sum, if a movement-based analysis of pseudo-clefts and CCCs are
  inevitable and if we can offer a treatment of parasitic gaps which does not
  face the problems above (**), then these constructions may be of comparative

What exactly are you calling "the problems above" with parasitic gaps?

  (**) I would like to remind you that GPSG did not have the parasitic gap
  problem and excluded Carl's initial ungrammatical example as well. In
  addition, doesn't [how many reports] in the lower SpecCP already block an
  extraction of the adjunct in your initial example?

No, that was the point of other examples such as

 Without bodily restraining him, how do you think we can keep Robin
 away from the chipotle muffins?

 Using nothing but Extensionality and Empty Set, how many of these crucial
 lemmas do you think we're going to be able to prove?


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