Local Instability: Split Topicalization and Quantifier Float in German

Local Instability: Split Topicalization and Quantifier Float in German

by Dennis Ott


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783110290370
Publisher: De Gruyter
Publication date: 08/17/2012
Series: Linguistische Arbeiten Series , #544
Edition description: Bilingual
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dennis Ott, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

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