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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Linguistics

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Kyle Johnson

Second Advisor

Rajesh Bhatt

Third Advisor

Brian Dillon

Fourth Advisor

Adrian Staub

Subject Categories

Syntax

Abstract

The irregular behavior of rightward movement presents a challenge to theories that treat such configurations as the direct product of the mechanism responsible for leftward movement. For example, rightward movement appears not to be subject to certain island constraints and famously appears to be subject to stricter locality conditions than leftward movement. This dissertation presents investigations of two particular instances of rightward movement in English: Heavy-NP Shift (HNPS) and Extraposition from NP (EXNP). I argue that, by identifying the proper analyses for these phenomena, we can begin to attribute their apparent differences from leftward movement as the products of more general constraints on movement and properties of the particular mechanisms involved.

Chapters 2 and 3 present a case study on HNPS. Chapter 2 argues, on the basis of parasitic gap licensing, that there are instances of right DP-movement that are best modeled as the product of rightward linearized syntactic movement. I also present the results of an acceptability judgment study to address the argument by Postal (1994) that it is in fact Right Node Raising that generates what are only apparent parasitic gap. Chapter 3 builds on research conducted by Nissenbaum (2000). I argue that the need to bind a parasitic gap licenses potentially unbounded and successive-cyclic rightward movement beyond what is possible for standard HNPS. This suggests that the locality conditions on rightward movement are not categorically different that the locality conditions on leftward movement. I attribute the otherwise exceptional locality of standard HNPS to a constraint on economy of derivation (Chomsky 1993).

Chapters 4 and 5 present a case study on EXNP. Chapter 4 proposes a novel connectivity diagnostic that strongly suggests that an extraposed relative clause is generated inside its host DP (cf. Rochemont & Culicover 1990). The results of an acceptability judgment study suggest that an NPI that appears in a relative clause and is licensed by the universal quantifier 'every' remains licensed in an EXNP configuration. I argue that the QR-based theory of EXNP from Fox & Nissenbaum (1999) best models the available data as well as some of the irregular properties of EXNP. Chapter 5 investigates the locality conditions on EXNP. I present evidence for a set of strong subclausal locality conditions on EXNP. However, we will see interpretive evidence that an extraposed relative clause can be interpreted outside of its containing clause. I suggest that these facts can be made to follow from a treatment of QR as an unbounded successive-cyclic instance of covert movement (e.g., Cecchetto 2004). The result is that both HNPS and the movement responsible for EXNP, are potentially unbounded and successive-cyclic movements, just like their leftward counterparts.

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