Essays on Structure and Interpretation
edited by Anna-Maria Di Sciullo
Contents | Preface | Order form
The proper form of the configurations generated by the grammar is subject to debate. Chomsky (1994) and Kayne (1995) have both recently discussed the form of X'-structure and the properties of adjunction. Both the minimalist approach to X'-structure allowing non-rigid X'-projections and the approach requiring a rigid X'-structure which always projects an intermediate level of category have much to offer. In this volume, we consider the properties of morphological and syntactic linguistic expressions. The papers address the nature of grammatical categories, argument structure, adjunct structure and licensing conditions. The authors base their proposals on phenomena in Romance, Hellenic, West Germanic, Semitic, African and Amerindian languages.
The first two papers of this collection focus on the properties of words. Emmon Bach, in "On the Grammar of Complex Words," provides empirical evidence that the relationship between formal structure of words and of phrases does not hold in some Amerindian languages. This paper suggests that word structure cannot be isomorphic to phrase structure. In "Atomicity and Relatedness in Configurational Morphology," Anna-Maria Di Sciullo presents evidence to the effect that both opacity effects (wh-movement and anaphoric binding) and relatedness effects (argumental and aspectual doubling) typical of words are a consequence of the properties of word-structure. The elemental aspects of a configurational theory of morphology offered here show how the properties of French prefixed verbs follow from that theory.
The second set of papers of this collection address the properties of argument structure. Evidence from different languages supports a configurational representation of argument structure. Such a representation allows for sharp predictions with respect to argument structure alternations and asymmetries, as shown for instance in the works of Larson (1987) and Hale and Keyser (1993). From this perspective, Teun Hoekstra, in "The Active-Passive Configuration," presents an alternative view of passivization vs. transitivization. The author presents a theory of categories distinguishing between lexical and functional categories where the category verb as well as syntactic transitivity are derivative. In "Configurations and the Transitivity Splits in the Arabic Lexicon," Abdelkader Fassi Fehri presents a case study of predicate formation in Classical Arabic. He corroborates the proposal and findings of Hale and Keyser (1993) and presents cross-linguistic phenomena from Arabic and English which sustain a configurational approach to argument structure. Mireille Tremblay, in "Lexical and Non-Lexical Prepositions in French," argues that with is a semantically empty instance of the category preposition, which basically projects an X'-structure: specifier-head-complement. She argues further that apart from the semantically empty category preposition (P), the grammar includes a category K which is a dummy case assigner lacking the categorial properties of P and that with may also project K. Christopher Laenzlinger, in "Adverb Syntax and Phrase Structure," considers the distribution of adverbs in French, presenting a theory of adverb syntax based on a double Spec model of X'-theory. This section concludes with Degif Petros' paper "On the Absence of AgrS: Evidence from Ethiopian Semitic Languages," where he argues on the basis of data drawn from two Ethiopian Semitic Languages, Chaha and Amharic, that the projection AgrS is not required to account for the order or phrasal constituents. Moreover, this offers a better explanation of the order of inflectional affixes in the languages under consideration.
The third set of papers deals with the definition of adjunction. Both the proper form and the directionality of adjunction are subject to debate, as discussed by Chomsky (1994), Epstein (1993), Kayne (1995) and May (1985). Pilar Barbosa, in "In Defense of Right-Adjunction for Head Movement," argues, on the basis of evidence involving subject clitics in French and Italian dialects, that Romance head movement uniformly results in right-adjunction. Considering the properties of the double object clitic paradigm, Arhonto Terzi, in "The Linear Correspondence Axiom and the Adjunction Site of Clitics," provides an account both of the nature of clitics and the properties of the functional heads that serve as adjunction sites for clitics. Her claims are primarily based on Greek data but may be extended to counterpart structures in standard Romance languages. In "Deducing the X'-Structure of Adjunction," Geoffrey Poole proposes that Epstein's (1993) resolution of the apparent paradox between the duplication theory of adjunction and the segmental theory of adjunction can be derived from independent syntactic principles.
The last set of papers addresses the conditions of the grammar. Several Minimalist works, including Chomsky (1993, 1994) and Lasnik (1994), attempt to restrict the set of conditions to the minimal set required given the configurational properties of the linguistic expressions. The reduction of individual licensing conditions to more general economy conditions is one of the main features of this framework. The papers in this section include proposals to derive specific modules and conditions from more general properties of the grammar. Ed Zoerner, in "The Case of &'-Adjunction to VP," addresses the issue of systematic violations of the Coordinate Structure Constraint, and proposes an account based on Case assignment within coordinate NPs projected as asymmetrical conjunction phrase (&P) structures. In "Configurational Accounts of Thematic Linking Regularities: The Possessional-Spatial Asymmetry," Jeffrey Gruber presents certain linking patterns that are attested and unattested in English using an X'-theoretic representation of thematic structure and Chomsky's recent conditions on movement based on equidistance. This paper sustains Hale and Keyser's view of thematic structure and extends the VP-shell format in order to obtain a greater empirical coverage. Juvénal Ndayiragije, in "Case-Checking and OVS in Kirundi," aims to derive Case Theory from a more general interface condition on positional licensing and not on morphological feature checking. In the proposed view, syntax is driven by licensing requirements of functional projections and constrained by invariant principles of Economy, such as the Minimal Link Condition. Réjean Canac Marquis, in "Weak and Weakest Crossover are Configurational," proposes a derivational account of pronoun binding coupled with a notion of licensing expressions at various levels. Finally, Edward Keenan and Edward Stabler discuss and clarify the notion of "same structure as" including the concept of grammatical constant in "Abstract Syntax." The authors propose a definition appealing to a substitutibility criterion based on grammatical isomorphism.
This collection of papers originated from a conference on Configurations, held at the Université du Québec à Montréal on October 25-27, 1994. To all those who participated in the orgnization of the conference, we would like to extend our thanks, in particular to the members of the Groupe de recherche sur la modularité de la grammaire (SSHRC grant #411-92-0012) at the Université du Québec à Montréal, to the Service des publications of that university, and to the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the financial support they provided for the organization of the conference. We would also like to thank Aimé Avolonto, Denis Bouchard, Manuel Espanol Echevarria, Jila Ghomeshi, Ken Hale, Richard Kayne, Jay Keyser, Elizabeth Klipple, Pierre Pica, Keren Rice, Tom Roeper, Michael Rochemont and Tim Stowell for their participation in the conference. In the preparation of this volume, we would like to especially thank Mark Baker, Hagit Borer, Mohamed Guerssell, Norbert Hornstein, Kasangati Kinyalolo, Teun Hoekstra, Howard Lasnik, Paul Law, Rita Manzini, Alec Marantz, James McGilvray, Maria Luisa Rivero, Anne Rochette, Juan Uriagereka, and Karen Zagona who reviewed the papers submitted for publication.
Anna-Maria Di Sciullo
Université du Québec à Montréal