15.2325, Review: Syntax: Adger, De Cat & Tsoulas, ed. (2004)

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LINGUIST List:  Vol-15-2325. Wed Aug 18 2004. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 15.2325, Review: Syntax: Adger, De Cat & Tsoulas, ed. (2004)

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Date:  Tue, 17 Aug 2004 13:25:15 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Jonny Butler <jrcb100 at york.ac.uk>
Subject:  Peripheries: Syntactic edges and their effects

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Tue, 17 Aug 2004 13:25:15 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Jonny Butler <jrcb100 at york.ac.uk>
Subject:  Peripheries: Syntactic edges and their effects

EDITOR: Adger, David; De Cat, Cécile; Tsoulas, George
TITLE: Peripheries
SUBTITLE: Syntactic edges and their effects
SERIES: Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 59
PUBLISHER: Kluwer Academic Publishers
YEAR: 2004
Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-171.html

Jonny Butler, Dept. of Language & Linguistic Science,
University of York

This book contains 15 papers presented at a conference on peripheral
positions at the University of York in September 2000, along with an
introductory chapter.

Chapter 1, David Adger & Cécile De Cat's ''Core questions about the
edge'', introduces the volume. It gives a rundown of general
treatments of peripheral positions obtaining in the literature,
defined in very general terms as positions at 'the edge of some
syntactic domain' (p. 2), as opposed to what the authors label
'central' positions, i.e.  positions 'deeply embedded within that
domain' (ibid). These include pretty specific notions of the
periphery, such as Rizzi's (1997) 'left' periphery, i.e. CP;
generalized versions of this Rizzian idea to cover e.g. the periphery
of the nominal domain (DP); more general notions still, such as the
higher/edge parts of the clause, whatever syntactic category we take
these to be; and of course, quite far removed from Rizzi, also the
'right' periphery of syntactic constituents. This chapter also
includes brief discussion of each of the other chapters in the volume,
usefully highlighting connections between them.

Chapter 2, Ronnie Cann, Ruth Kempson, Lutz Marten, Masayuki Otsuka, &
David Swinburne's ''On the left and on the right'', analyses left and
right clause peripheral phenomena (topicalization, relative clause
formation, 'it' extraposition, right node raising, etc.) in terms of
the authors Dynamic Syntax framework, wherein tree growth reflects the
'left to right' nature of production/processing, rather than say the
more usual hierarchic structure building treatment of generative
frameworks. They make use of two specific operations, *Adjunction and
LINK, both of which are utilized to provide analyses of left vs. right
constructions, typically treated as distinct, in very similar
ways. The numerous constructions covered include topicalization,
''hanging'' topics, pronoun/clitic doubling, ''it'' extraposition,
Right Node Raising, and relativization.

Like other analyses based in the Dynamic Syntax framework I have seen,
this requires a brain-twisting rethink of how I look at syntax, but it
is extremely interesting, and well worth the twist. It also features
the best example sentence in the volume, ''She talks too fast, Ruth
Kempson'' (p. 33).

Chapter 3, Balazs Suranyi's ''The left periphery and cyclic spellout:
the case of Hungarian'', takes issue with recent 'cartographic'
analyses of scope effects (e.g. Beghelli & Stowell 1997), particularly
relating to Hungarian (e.g. Szabolcsi 1997), wherein QP scope is taken
to be assigned via syntactic feature checking with a set of
hierarchically ordered functional clausal heads. Suranyi criticizes
such analyses on two main grounds: empirically, that low in the
Hungarian clause scope is not reflected structurally, and this
requires in Szabolcsi's treatment an apparently unconstrained
iteration of the functional heads she proposes, which lessens the
motivation for having a strict hierarchy in the first place; and
theoretically, that various of the movements required to obtain both
the correct surface relations and the correct scope relations where
these don't match can be seen as violating constraints such as the ban
on Improper Movement, etc.  Suranyi instead proposes a treatment based
on interactions of Quantifier Raising (QR) and topicalization, in a
framework assuming a version of phase-based cyclic spellout (Chomsky
2000, etc.).

The analysis involves a number of assumptions which aren't without
problems - e.g. overt focalization is taken to be driven by verb
movement. In focus constructions, Suranyi claims V has a strong
uninterpretable focus feature [uFoc]. One problem is that we don't see
such a feature reflected morphologically on V. While this is not
unusual in the literature generally, Suranyi levels the criticism at
Beghelli & Stowell's treatment of distributivity that their head Dist
doesn't show up overtly. If this is a problem, I don't see why
proposing features that don't show up overtly is less of one. Leaving
this aside, Suranyi claims that in order to check this feature, V
raises out of the projection it heads (VP, or AspP if it has raised
there already), adjoins to that projection, and reprojects as FocP.
Early on, he takes the motivation for this kind of head movement to be
related to phasal spellout: a head moves out of a potential phase if
it has unchecked features that would cause that phase to crash at
spellout. However, he doesn't take VP or AspP to constitute a phase,
so the movement here seems unnecessary: there seems no reason why the
[uFoc] feature of V couldn't be dealt with in situ. Leaving this too
aside, the phrase to be focussed has a strong interpretable [iFoc]
feature, which raises and Agrees with the [uFoc] on V, but doesn't
necessarily check. Suranyi assumes all syntactic operations, including
checking, are optional. If the wrong option is taken crash will ensue,
but that is a chance that is taken. If the features do check, then the
construction is sent to spellout. If not, V must raise and reproject
again. It can either do this immediately, in which case a second
expression can be focussed, and so on seemingly ad infinitum (which
again seems problematic); or not, in which case QR can occur first.

QR is another optional operation, according to Suranyi, and as such it
can either be overt or covert. In Hungarian, we see both these
options, as opposed to say English, where it is always
covert. Suranyi's explanation for this lies in the nature of the
features at the base position of the movement. He claims that if
strong features obtain on a base position, e.g. theta-features, then
there is required to be an overt argument in argument position,
essentially to support those features. English theta-features are
apparently strong, so require arguments to be realized low down where
optional raising takes place.  Hungarian theta-features, on the other
hand, are apparently weak, and so don't impose this requirement. In
itself, this is somewhat stipulative; it is also problematic
theoretically, since Suranyi states that in cases of featurally
motivated movement, such as topicalization or A-movement, movement is
necessarily overt. This conflicts with Suranyi's position that where
the base-feature is strong, 'then by definition, it requires the
presence of a full category' (p. 69), i.e.  including its phonological
features. In a case where both the base- features and the attracting
features are strong, then, it is required that the moving element is
realized both in the lower and the higher position, and yet clearly
this isn't what we see. While Suranyi's paper raises some legitimate
objections to the feature-based cartographic theory of scope, then, it
also introduces some new problems of its own.

Chapter 4, Joseph Emonds' ''Unspecified categories as the key to root
projections'', also argues against cartographic treatments of
peripheral positions, specifically of the higher part of the clause
commonly referred to as CP. In fact, Emonds pretty much does away with
the category CP altogether: he argues that root clauses (essentially
non- embedded finite clauses, or embedded clauses with equivalent
properties) are 'Discourse Projections', i.e. they give information
about the speaker's attitude towards the 'eventhood' of the
proposition under consideration (realis vs. irrealis). He then treats
various periphery-related transformations in terms of 'Discourse
Shells', which are defined as 'Categorially unspecified projections
[that] may immediately dominate (only) IPs specified as Discourse
Projections' (p.  85). Any cateory of XP may then move to the
specifier of one of these Discourse Shells, the interpretation that XP
receives (topic, focus, etc.) then depending on independent
factors. In combination with a version of his (1976) Structure
Preservation, Emonds uses this notion of a-categorial Discourse Shells
to provide elegant analyses of left dislocation constructions,
topicalization, exclamatives, focalization, wh-movement, and verb
movement. One possibly minor point remained unclear, which was that
Discourse Shells may be dominated by other Discourse Shells. However,
Emonds' definition of a Discourse Shell above states that they
'immediately dominate (only) IPs specified as Discourse
Projections'. This seems to entail that when we have a finite IP with
a Discourse Shell on top, that is equivalent to having a finite IP
without, otherwise we couldn't add more Shells. This seems fine, but
clarification on this point would have been useful.

Chapter 5, Kook-Hee Gill & George Tsoulas's ''Peripheral effects
without peripheral syntax: the left periphery in Korean'', also also
argues against a (universal) cartographic analysis of the left
periphery, preferring instead an approach where left peripheral
elements may be hosted in the specifier of a Topic position between C
and IP, or more radically simply adjoined to IP. The left peripheral
elements Gill & Tsoulas are concerned with are '-nun' marked elements,
which, when peripherally dislocated, are interpreted as topics, with
various very specific restrictions, such as no matter how many -nun
marked elements appear in the periphery, only one gets the topic
interpretation. Gill & Tsoulas argue that treating this interpretation
in terms of checking of a [+TOPIC] feature, or anything similar, is
not only theoretically untenable, but also empirically. Rather, they
argue the interactions between movement to the relevant peripheral
position and phonological stress assignment in Korean derive the
possible interpretations straightforwardly. The theory they finally
arrive at is impressively minimal, especially given that it derives so
many effects for them - they even manage to bring short distance
scrambling under the umbrella.  A few questions are left open at the
end, but as they are acknowledged and discussed this isn't a problem.

Chapter 6, Mamoru Saito's ''Japanese scrambling in a comparative
perspective'', presents arguments that Japanese (and Korean)
scrambling is a non feature driven operation. Saito first reviews
evidence from his, and others', earlier work (Saito 1989; Tada 1993;
Oka 1989) showing that Japanese/Korean scrambling (unlike in other
scrambling languages) has the property of allowing scrambled elements
to undergo radical reconstruction - that is, for scrambled elements to
receive an interpretation exactly as if they hadn't moved at all. This
effect seems optional with short (clause internal) scrambling and
obligatory with long scrambling. Saito suggests that the best
candidate for a feature that could drive this kind of movement is the
P(eriphery)- feature of Chomsky (2000): a feature that can be
optionally assigned to the head of a syntactic phase to trigger
successive cyclic movement.  Chomsky (2000) assumes that the (at least
intermediate) steps of such movement are semantically
vacuous. However, Saito argues that even so, they do not allow radical
reconstruction. He then goes through a different formulation from
Chomsky (2001) wherein the assignment of a P-feature to a head must
have an effect on the interpretation. Clearly this isn't the case with
the cases Saito considers, since as far as the interpretation goes it
is as if the scrambled elements hadn't moved at all.

Saito concludes that if the P-feature, in either guise, is the best
candidate for a feature that drives scrambling, and yet according to
his analysis it doesn't, then it really looks like Japanese/Korean
scrambling isn't feature-driven at all. The arguments are clear and
well- presented, but we are left with the niggling question of what
does drive scrambling in Japanese in that case.

Chapter 7, Enoch Aboh's ''Left or right? A view from the Kwa
periphery'', shows that Gungbe, a language of the Kwa family, has a
set of rigidly ordered topic, focus, and injunctive markers at the
left periphery, which host topics, foci, and subjects of injunction to
their immediate left, suggesting that a decomposed discourse related
CP structure obtains in this language. Aboh presents a large amount of
straightforward data backing up an analysis along these lines, his
arguments similar to those used by Rizzi (1997) to motivate his
decomposed CP structure for Italian.

More interestingly, Aboh also examines discourse markers that appear
right-peripherally. On the assumption that heads universally precede
their complements at the base (Kayne 1994), Aboh notes that if these
discourse markers too reflect CP level discourse heads, their right
peripheral nature must deriving from a leftward 'snowballing' movement
of other elements to/through their specifiers. Such a snowballing
analysis predicts that, for those elements that can appear in either
periphery, such as topic or focus markers, their right peripheral
ordering should directly mirror their left peripheral ordering, and
Aboh shows that this is correct (an effect that he shows also turns up
at the left and right edges of Gungbe nominals). Aboh analyses this
snowballing movement as a 'disguised' version of the kind of head
movement we commonly see in Romance, the distinction being whether the
head X can raise alone (Romance), or whether it has to pied-pipe its
XP (Gungbe). Aboh proposes an interesting scope related argument to
motivate the distinction between left and right peripheral
realizations of the CP heads: essentially, when, say, a Foc head is
realized on the left, with a focalized XP in its specifier, this
reflects the fact that that XP is the scope of the focus; when a Foc
head is relaized on the right, with the rest of the clause in its
specifier, this reflects the fact that the whole proposition is in the
scope of focus. Interpretive facts seem to back this up. Tellingly,
this also predicts that those discourse markers that obligatorily
appear to the right in Gungbe, such as the interrogative marker and
the clausal determiner, are those that necessarily scope over the
proposition, and again this seems to be the case.

Chapter 8, Christer Platzack's ''Cross-linguistic word order variation
at the left periphery: the case of object first main clauses'', again
looks at the left periphery of the clause in terms of a Rizzian
exploded CP layer. Data from English, Italian, Finnish, and Swedish
are marshalled to demonstrate the variation in the ordering of
non-object constituents found in main clauses whose initial
constituent is the direct object, both cross-linguistically, and
within languages depending on the status of the object as a DP topic
or a wh-word.

Platzack's general claim is that fronting a wh-object over a subject
should in general constitute a violation of Shortest Move (Kitahara
1994). This claim depends very much on some of Platzack's background
assumptions: (i) that the canonical subject position is [Spec,FinP],
i.e. an A-bar position, not [Spec,TP], an A-position; (ii) that wh-
movement is attraction to Foc of a DP from a lower A-bar position by
something like a generalized EPP-feature, not by any kind of [wh]-
feature; (iii) that wh-objects occupy an A-bar position at the left
edge of the verb phrase before movement to [Spec,FocP]. The first and
third assumption get no justification other than references to
Branigan (1996) and Nissenbaum (2000) respectively; the second claim
gets around half a page of discussion. However, with these in place,
Platzack shows how a version of Richards' (1998) Minimal Compliance
offers a few ways get round the Shortest Move violation - either by
moving the intervening XP, or moving the head of which it is a
specifier - and demonstrates how each of the languages under
consideration exemplifies one of these ways.

The paper is well-argued and elegant, though it would be nice to have
seen the background assumptions (i-iii) justified in more detail.

Chapter 9, Liliane Haegeman's ''DP-periphery and clausal periphery:
possessor doubling in West Flemish'', does very much as it says in the
title: examines the well-known DP-clause parallelism with respect to
data on possessor doubling from West Flemish (WF). Specifically,
Haegeman shows how a proposal by Gavruseva (2000) to deal with the
unavailability of possessor extraction - the phenomenon where a
possessor wh-word is wh-moved out of a possessive DP - in Germanic
fails to account for data from WF. Gavruseva proposes that the
availability of possessor extraction out of DP in a language
correlates with the availability of movement of the possessor to the
edge of DP.  Haegeman shows that in WF, this correlation doesn't hold:
possessors may move to the edge of DP, but (contrary to initial
appearances) they cannot extract out of DP. Haegeman solves this
problem by reworking Gavruseva's analysis with a more articulated DP
periphery than Gavruseva assumes, analogous to a Rizzian articulated
CP, the point being essentially that in WF, the possessor moves to a
low A-position in the DP periphery, from where extraction is
impossible, whereas languages exhibiting extraction move their
possessors to a higher A-bar position in the DP periphery, from where
extraction is licit.

This is a typical Haegeman paper: the data at issue are clearly set
out, the analysis is sound and well-presented, and it's about West

Chapter 10, Cedric Boeckx & Kleanthes K. Grohmann's ''SubMove: towards
a unified analysis of scrambling and D-linking'', points out five
clear parallel behaviours displayed by D-linked wh-phrases and
long-distance scrambled elements: neither obeys superiority; both
carry discourse effects; both are, or have been argued to be,
semantically vacuous in the sense that they undergo radical
reconstruction; both are insensitive to islands; and both are
accompanied by clitic doubling in some languages. Such parallels
suggest a unified analysis, and Boeckx & Grohmann provide one, the
essential ingredient being that neither type of movement serves to
check phi-features, but rather they both target something like a TopP
in an articulated CP.

To instantiate this notion, and capture the parallels, B&G propose an
operation SubMove, in which a DP complement of a D head may extract
out of the embedding DP to a higher clausal position. Somewhat along
the lines of Sportiche (1996), the stranded D may then be spelt out as
a resumptive element/clitic to the extracted DP. B&G suggest that both
D- linked wh-movement and long distance scrambling are cases of
SubMove.  Assuming the embedding DP is the one that checks
phi-features in the clause, the extracted DP is predicted not to check
such features, and the parallels B&G note fall out: superiority won't
kick in if the elements to be moved are embedded inside higher DPs,
since neither will c-command the other; discourse effects follow if
the element moves out of the agreement domain of the clause (IP) to
CP, often viewed as the discourse-related part of the structure;
radical reconstruction follows if we assume that the resumptive D is
in fact the relevant one for interpretation in these cases (though
without actual reconstruction); island insensitivity is a well-known
feature of resumptive structures; and clitic doubling is the basis of
the whole analysis. This is another excellent paper, with a novel
observation very nicely analysed.

Chapter 11, Peter Svenonius's ''On the edge'', seems to catch the
author on a surprisingly bad day. Like some of the other papers, it
explores the DP-clause parallelism, here in terms of phase theory
(Chomsky 2000 et seq). The paper seeks to explain various strategies
for moving elements to/through phase edges, and explain why and how
particular kinds of elements can('t) get out of phases in particular
languages.  Unfortunately the amount of data and theory Svenonius
brings to bear are enormous and detailed, and this might have been
better off as a monograph than a paper, so the points had room to be
made. As it is, they don't, and this is a shame because they seem like
they would be good ones if they did. A particularly bad case is the
theory of structure building proposed at the end of the paper: it is
highly intriguing, it certainly would have many ramifications for the
way we think about various aspects of syntax, and (if it works) it is
appealing. But it only takes up about a page and a half, mostly trees,
and so there really isn't much we can say about it except ''oh''. As I
say, this is a shame, and I hope Svenonius does expand this paper,
whether to a monograph or a number of other papers, since I get the
feeling I might enjoy it.

Chapter 12, Kyle Johnson's ''Clausal edges and their effects on
scope'', examines the scope rigidity that is observed between the
objects in double object constructions, i.e. the fact that whatever
the scope relations we observe between the subject (or other scope
bearing element) and either of the objects, the objects themselves
invariably scope in their surface positions relative to one
another. Johnson attempts to tie this down to the proposal that
reconstruction into a small clause is barred, because reconstruction
into a theta-marked position is barred, and small clauses only make
theta-marked positions available.

Beyond this, I can say nothing since I frankly admit I was left
hopelessly confused by this paper. This may be down to a lack of
something on my part, but I wouldn't wish to shoulder all the
responsibility, since for example, Johnson seems to switch around his
labelling for the objects throughout, so that sometimes one object is
referred to as the (in)direct object and sometimes the other: see for
example p. 310, where we are assured in one sentence that the theory
''will allow for every permutation of scope relations ... except those
in which the indirect object falls within the scope of the direct
object: precisely the desired outcome''; and not only that, the very
next sentence tells us the theory also succeeds in ''ensuring that the
indirect object always falls within the scope of the direct object'' -
presumably NOT precisely the desired outcome, but both things are
presented as equally attractive. I remain puzzled.

Chapter 13, Valentina Bianchi & Roberto Zamparelli's ''Edge
coordinations: focus and conjunction reduction'', marks a return to
form for the volume. B&Z look at coordination structures of the type
''not only ... but also'' made famous by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore;
they label these ''edge coordinations''. Data from English and Italian
are given, demonstrating four possible variants for this kind of
construction in each language. Edge coordinations show clear focus
effects, as reflected in the (optional) ''only'' or equivalent
focalizing element. B&Z assume they also involve deletion, assuming
reasonably enough that they involve coordination of clauses, with
''reduction'' of parts of those clauses. They provide two possible
ways for analysing each of these things: focalization either in situ,
or, following Johnson (1996), as overt movement to a specifier of
FocP; and reduction either as ellipsis, or as across the board remnant
movement to a high CP level position [Spec,GroundP] (cf. Polletto &
Pollock 1999). These distinct analyses, they show, are empirically
distinguishable, and they also show very interestingly that they all
play a part in edge coordination, different pairings corresponding to
the four different ordering realizations for the constructions.

The paper provides a very clear, simple set of analyses for edge
coordination structures, and its demonstration that they don't require
a uniform analysis, and in fact require a non-uniform one, makes an
important point about how much we should assume theoretically when we
see pieces of data that look analogous.

Chapter 14, Theodora Alexopoulou, Edit Doron, & Caroline Heycock's
''Broad subjects and clitic left dislocation'', compares the two
phenomena named in the paper's title - ''broad subjects'' (BS) (Doron
& Heycock 1999), which being left peripheral elements in A-positions
that are associated with a clitics, and clitic left dislocation
(CLLD), a similar phenomenon except the left peripheral XP is in an
A-bar position - using data from Italian, Greek, Hebrew, and Levantine
Arabic. The authors give a couple of straightforward criteria to
distinguish the two phenomena: the peripheral XP (PXP) in CLLD is not
necessarily pronominal, whereas the PXP in BS constructions
necessarily is, and necessarily bears nominative case (where case is
visible); the PXP in CLLD is not focus stressed, and is standardly
considered to have a topic-like discourse function, whereas the PXP in
BS may be focus stressed, and can perform the discourse function
either of focus or of topic.

They then proceed to go in detail through a number of other factors
that demonstrate that BS should be distinguished as a discrete
category from CLLD. These include: BS PXPs show standard syntactic
subject behaviour, whereas CLLD PXPs do not; BS PXPs don't play a
specific role in the information structure of the clause - expected if
they are located in an A- position (i.e. in the IP layer) - CLLD PXPs
do - also expected if they are in an A-bar position (i.e. the CP
layer); the PXP in BS can be a ''bare quantifier'' (i.e. a single word
quantifier with no lexical restriction, such as ''nobody'',
''everyone'', etc.), the PXP in CLLD can't; downward entailing
quantifiers are licit as the PXP in BS, but not CLLD; quantificational
PXPs in BS can bind pronouns, unlike CLLD; BS PXPs can be questioned
(wh-moved), CLLD PXPs can't; BS PXPs don't respect island
restrictions, CLLD PXPs do, as a defining characteristic; conversely,
BS PXPs create islands, whereas CLLD PXPs don't; BS PXPs can't bind
pronouns under quantificational reconstruction, CLLD PXPs can.

Having established the above distinctions between BS and CLLD, the
authors then go on to show that both constructions can be available in
the same language: while Greek and Italian have CLLD without BS, and
Modern Hebrew has BS without CLLD (Doron & Heycock 1999), Levantine
Arabic data split into two, some showing the characteristics of CLLD,
and some the characteristics of BS. This provides yet further argument
that the phenomena are distinct. This paper is a very carefully
argued, solid piece of work, with the data set out clearly and the
analysis following straightforwardly from it.

Chapter 15, Theodore Marinis's ''Acquiring the left periphery of the
Modern greek DP'', extends the ''bottom-up'' analysis of acquisition
initiated for the clause by Radford (1986) to acquisition of DP. Data
come from two corpora, covering five Greek children; Marinis
concentrates on the acquisition of case, nominal agreement, possessive
constructions, and determiner spreading, the phenomenon where a
definite determiner may be realized more than once within a DP,
specifically preceding the noun and any modifying adjectives. The
paper provides an analysis of the data such that first the NP, as a
lexical thematic category, is acquired, then an ''FP'' layer
corresponding to IP in the clause, then DP, taken to correspond to CP
in the clause.  Marinis ties this incremental acquisition process into
Platzack's (2001) notion of ''multiple interfaces'', wherein the
thematic (VP/NP), grammatical (IP/FP), and discourse (CP/DP) layers of
the structure relate to distinct aspects of cognition. This provides a
story for why acquisition should be incremental that is rather more
plausible than just assuming one XP in some universally defined
structure has to be acquired before the next one up can be.

Chapter 16, Bernadette Plunkett's ''Early Peripheries in the absence
of C'', looks at null subjects and wh-questions in child French. It
rejects the account of Rizzi (1993) wherein the gradual disappearance
of French child null subjects is causally tied in to the maturational
acquisition of the peripheral, CP, layer of the clause (cf. Crisma
1992). Data largely from two recent corpora are used to show that the
picture isn't as straightforward as previous studies have assumed:
Plunkett provides evidence that incremental acquisition of clause
structure isn't simply a maturational, bottom to top, process, but
rather an artefact of parameter settings. The idea is that children
posit additional functional projections on a data-driven basis, and
initially employ those projections only when a specific utterance
makes it necessary.  Thus until agreement parameters in the IP layer
have been fully set, CP level parameters can't be fully set - e.g. I-C
movement can't be acquired until V-I movement is in place.

Plunkett's analysis of the incremental acquisition of agreement
features rests on a simple basic idea: settings for those features
that are most fully specified in a target language are acquired before
setting for those that are less specified. This basic idea makes some
very interesting predictions: in particular, say a child has learned
from the verbal paradigm that verbs can encode tense features (and
therefore move to I), but has yet to determine whether they encode
person or number features, then they will assume they don't. This will
disallow feature checking between an overt pronoun, with person and
number features, in [Spec,IP], and a verb without such features in
I. A null pronoun must therefore be employed. As more specific
agreement parameters are acquired, the number of null subjects will
naturally decrease; and additionally it will become possible to set
the parameters for higher functional projections, i.e. those in the CP
layer. The correlation between the loss of null subjects and the rise
in wh-questions is therefore not direct.

Plunkett's basic idea, as noted, is very straightforward but very
interesting, and it would be still more interesting to see it applied
to acquisition data from languages with different agreement paradigms,
since it ought to make different, quite specific, predictions based on
which features are realized, and to what relative degree, in any given


This is a generally excellent volume, managing to fit a bumper number
of papers inside its deceptively slim covers. There are a couple of
disappointments, as noted above, but overall the standard of the
papers is very high. The range of phenomena discussed is impressive,
as is the theoretical diversity within the papers.

I won't give an exhaustive list of typos, as occasionally appear in
Linguist List reviews: it wouldn't be very interesting, I didn't make
a note of them all, and you can find them yourself easily enough if
you really want to. There are a couple that might be mentioned
though. Two of the larger errors occur in Johnson's chapter 12: one is
that he makes crucial reference to shaded text in one of his trees,
when in fact no shaded text exists there. The editors have assured me,
though, that the shading was there in the final proofs, and
disappeared somewhere between there and publication. In fact it is
clear enough from the text where the shading would have been, so this
isn't too bad.  The second is that the end of footnote 15 strays into
the main text, causing mild confusion if you try to read
either. Again, though, it is easy enough to reconstruct what should
have been where. Apart from these, there are frequent bracketing
problems with citations, such as they come out as e.g. Adger et al
(2004) when they should be (Adger et al 2004), or vice versa. These
prove momentarily distracting and could have been fixed easily enough.


Beghelli, F. & T. Stowell. 1997. Distributivity and negation; The
syntax of 'each' and 'every'. In A. Szabolcsi (ed.) Ways of Scope
Taking. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 71-107

Branigan, P. 1996. Verb-second and the A-bar syntax of subjects.
Studia Linguistica NS 50, 50-79

Chomsky, N. 2000. Minimalist inquiries: the framework. In R. Martin,
D.  Michaels, & J. Uriagereka (eds.) Step by Step. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 89-155

Chomsky, N. 2001. Derivation by phase. In M. Kenstowicz (ed.) Ken
Hale: a life in language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1-52

Crisma, P. 1992. On the acquisition of wh-questions in French. Geneva
Generative Papers 1, 115-122

Doron, E. & C. Heycock. 1999. Filling and licensing multiple
specifiers. In D. Adger, B. Plunkett, & G. Tsoulas (eds.) Specifiers:
Minimalist Approaches. Oxford: OUP, 69-89

Emonds, J. 1976. A Transformational Approach to English Syntax. New
York: Academic Press

Gavruseva, E. 2000. On the syntax of possessor extraction. Lingua 110,

Johnson, K. 1996. In Search of the English Middle Field. Ms. Umass

Kayne, R. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Nissenbaum, J. 2000. Investigations of Covert Phrase
Movement. Doctoral dissertation, MIT

Oka, T. 1989. On the Spec of IP. Ms, MIT

Platzack, C. 2001. Multiple Interfaces. In N.U. & E. van der Zee
(eds.)  Cognitive Interfaces: Constraints on Linking Cognitive
Information.  Oxford: OUP, 21-53

Poletto, C. & J.-Y. Pollock. 1999. On the left periphery of Romance
questions. Talk presented at the Workshop on the Cartography of
Functional Projections, Pontignano, November 1999

Radford, A. 1986. Small children's small clauses. Bangor Research
Papers in Linguistics 1, 1-38

Richards, N. 1998. The Principle of Minimal Compliance. LI 29, 599-629

Rizzi, L. 1993. Some notes on linguistic theory and language
development: the case of root infinitives. Language Acquisition 3,
371- 393

Rizzi, L. 1997. The fine structure of the left periphery. In L.
Haegeman (ed.) Elements of Grammar: a handbook in generative syntax.
Dordrecht: Kluwer, 281-337

Saito, M. 1989. Scrambling as semantically vacuous A-bar movement. In
M.R. Baltin & A.S. Kroch (eds.) Alternative Conceptions of Phrase
Structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 182-200

Sportiche, D. 1996. Clitic constructions. In J. Rooryck & L. Zaring
(eds.) Phrase Structure and the Lexicon. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 213-276

Szabolcsi, A. 1997. Strategies for scope taking. In A. Szabolcsi (ed.)
Ways of Scope Taking. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 109-154

Tada, H. 1993. A/A-bar Partition in Derivation. Doctoral dissertation,


Jonny Butler is a member of the Dept. of Linguistics at the University
of York, UK. He is freshly doctored, his thesis covering
quantification, tense, aspect, modality, and phase theory. From
November 2004 he will be a postdoctoral researcher at the
Graduiertenkolleg "Sprachliche Repräsentationen und ihre
Interpretation" ("Linguistic Representations and Their
Interpretation") at the University of Stuttgart.


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