Understanding Minimalist Syntax: Lessons from Locality in Long-Distance Dependencies / Edition 1

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Understanding Minimalist Syntax introduces the logic of the minimalist program by analyzing well-known descriptive generalizations about long-distance dependencies, and asks why they should be true of natural languages. This text proposes a new theory of how long-distance dependencies are formed, with implications for theories of locality, the minimalist program as whole. Experts working in the field will appreciate the book's rich empirical coverage, and advanced undergraduate and graduate students will find it an accessible introduction to the minimalist program.

About the Author:
Cedric Boeckx is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and a member of the Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In the space of just 150 pages Boeckx provides an accessible and assured introduction to minimalism; a terrific critical review of the evidence for cyclic movement; a sympathetic yet powerful critique of phase theory; and a new approach to the cycle based on an intuitively natural version of Least Effort. This really is a tour de force and can be read profitably by expert and neophyte alike.”
Norbert Hornstein, University of Maryland

“The book investigates the venerable topic of successive cyclic movement in order to shed light on the nature of the minimalist program. It is a truly impressive achievement which draws important conclusions regarding the most fundamental issues of the minimalist program and puts back the phenomenon of successive cyclic movement in the center of syntactic theorizing. It should have a strong impact on the field.”
Željko Bošković, University of Connecticut

“This is a concise study of how locality and anti-locality effects can be handled within minimalism: it is up-to-date, thought-provoking and full of insightful and original ideas – ideal for use as a ‘specialist topic’ on an advanced syntax course.”
Andrew Radford, University of Essex

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405157940
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/24/2007
  • Series: Generative Syntax Series, #17
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Cedric Boeckx is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and a member of the Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard University. He is the author of Islands and Chains (2003), Linguistic Minimalism (2006), and numerous articles in journals such as Linguistic Inquiry and Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Introductory Remarks     1
The Framework     1
Outline of the Book: Goals and Structure     4
The Marks of Successive Cyclicity (The What-Question)     9
Subjacency and the Emergence of Successive Cyclicity     9
The Evidence     11
Syntax     11
Morphology     14
Phonology     22
Semantics     23
Morpho-syntactic evidence from, overtly stranded pieces     26
A-movement     29
Conclusion     34
The Distribution of Intermediate Landing Sites (The Where-Question)     39
Punctuated vs. Uniform Paths     40
The Difficulties Faced by Punctuated Path Hypotheses     43
Phases: an overview     44
Conceptual arguments for phases     46
Arguments against phases     48
Old problems for phases     50
No empirical argument for phases     54
Conclusion     61
The Timing of Intermediate Steps of Movement (The When-Question)     64
Early vs. Late Successive Cyclicity     64
Takahashi (1994)     66
The Evidence for Early Successive Cyclic Movement     70
Background information on applicatives     71
The need for early successive cyclic movement     76
Potential Arguments for Late Successive Cyclic Movement     80
Sub-extraction out of a moved element     80
Intervening traces     82
Object agreement     83
Conclusion     86
The Motivation for Intermediate Movement Steps (The Why-Question)     90
Last Resort     90
Problematic Cases     91
Concord     91
Successive cyclicity     92
Anti-locality     101
Anti-locality and Successive Cyclicity     106
Anti-locality and Last Resort     110
The Why-Question     113
Conclusion     117
Alternative Views on Successive Cyclicity     119
Tag-based Accounts     119
An Agreement-based Account     125
Prolific Domains     129
Greed-based Approaches     129
Conclusion     132
Successive Cyclicity and Other Aspects of Locality     133
The Standard View on Islands     134
Puzzles for the Standard View     136
Movement, freezing, and escape hatch      136
Island by default?     137
Island-obviation     137
Ross's View     145
Agreement and Islandhood     145
Conclusion     148
Concluding Remarks     150
References     152
Index     167
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