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Local Instability  Split Topicalization and Quantifier Float in German  LA 544 (Linguistische Arbeiten)

Local Instability Split Topicalization and Quantifier Float in German LA 544 (Linguistische Arbeiten)

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  • ISBN-13: 9783110290370
  • Publisher: de Gruyter
  • Release Date: Aug 15, 2012
  • Edition: Bilingual
  • Pages: 205 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.25 x 9.0 x 0.5 inches

Overview

This monograph argues for a novel approach to split topicalization and quantifier float in German, based on the premise that syntactic structure-building proceeds solely via free application of Merge. Following recent developments in the pursuit of a more principled theory of syntax, it is argued that the stipulative notion of ´;projection´ ought to be dispensed with: syntactic objects created by Merge are not headed, and endocentricity arises due to a simple search algorithm. When this algorithm fails, specifically in symmetric {XP,YP} structures, an unlabeled constituent results; where a label is required, such structures are locally unstable. It is argued that both split topics and floated quantifiers are the result of this kind of local instability: when an exocentric predication structure is merged in argument or adjunct position, XP must be displaced at the phase level to allow for determination of a label. It is this symmetry-breaking movement that yields the ´;split constituent´ in surface form. Based on careful empirical scrutiny of two recalcitrant problems for syntactic theory, the present work adduces substantial support for a ´;minimalist´ grammatical architecture devoid of phrase-structural residue.

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