Nov 19, 2007

How should we formalize Head Movement?

Head Movement (henceforth, HM) has been one of the most important notion to analyze not only many "flip" phenomena (e.g. Subject-Aux Inversion in European languages) but also the syntax-morphology relationship since Baker(1988).
However, especially in the Minimalist literature, its theoretical status as a syntactic operation has been doubted since Chomsky(1995) though it is still important for various analyses which include a lot of interface studies.
I will show some points of this issue (This article is still a draft, so I keep enriching the content and collecting related papers).

Theoretical problems of HM (Matushansky(2006))

  1. violate structure preservation: HM changes the projection status of the moving head (from minimal to maximal)
  2. violate cyclicity: HM does not extend the root of the tree.

Differences between HM and phrasal movement(Matushansky(2006))

  1. The probe and the target act as one constituent after HM, but not after phrasal movement.

  2. Neither the probe nor the target can be extracted after HM: ban on excorporation

  3. HM is more local than phrasal movement: Head Movement Constraint(Travis(1984), Baker(1988))

  4. HM feeds affixation; phrasal movement does not.

  5. HM seems to have no semantic or syntactic effects, but phrasal movement does.

Some positions

  1. HM as phonological or PF-related movement: Chomsky(1995), Hale and Keyser(2002), Harley (2002, 2003)
  2. HM is syntactic, but it can be reduced to other syntactic movement: Koopman(2005), Matushansky(2006)
  3. HM is NOT phonological but syntactic: Lechner(2005), Fitzpatrick(2006)

HM bibliography

  • Baker, Mark C.(1988) Incorporation: A Theory of Grammatical Function Changing. The University of Chicago Press.

  • Chomsky, Noam(1995) The Minimalist Program. MIT Press.

  • Fitzpatrick, Jastin M.(2006) "Deletion Through Movement," Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 24: 399-431.

  • Hale, Ken and Samuel Jay Keyser(2002) Prolegomenon to a Theory of Argument Structure. MIT Press.

  • Harley, Heidi(2002) “Why one head is better than two: Head movement and compounding as consequences of Merge in Bare Phrase Structure,” A paper presented in the Arizona Linguistics Colloquium Series.

  • Harley, Heidi(2003) “Merge, Conflation, and Head Movement: The First Sister Principle Revisited,” NELS 34 Proceedings, 239-254.

  • Koopman, Hilda(2005) “Korean (and Japanese) Morphology from a Syntactic Perspective,” Linguistic Inquiry 36(4): pp.601-633.

  • Lechner, Winfried(2005) “Semantic Effects of Head Movement,” ms.

  • Matushansky, Ora(2006) “Head movement in Linguistic Theory,” Linguistic Inquiry. 37(1): pp.69-109.

  • Travis, Lisa(1984) Parameters and Effects of Word Order Variation. Ph.D.Dissertation, MIT.

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