A/A-bar chain uniformity

1994 1994

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation defends a theory of strict Chain Uniformity based on the A/A-bar distinction, in part in response to increasing criticism towards the A/A-bar distinction. The problems originated with the multiplication of new functional categories, whereby new positions were created without any provision to determine their A/A-bar status. The problem was compounded by mounting evidence that specifiers of functional categories could be used either as A or A-bar. Further, serious criticisms came from the alleged simultaneous A/A-bar properties of scrambled positions ('scrambling paradoxes'). Alternative typologies have been proposed (Webelhuth 1988, Chomsky 1989, Deprez 1991, Saito 1991, and others) which condemn the A/A-bar distinction. This thesis advocates that the A/A-bar distinction per se is perfectly adequate, but its current implementation requires major modifications.

It is argued that all positions within functional categories are inherently undetermined w.r.t. their A/A-bar status. Given strict Chain Uniformity, a chain-contextual determination of these positions is obtained, i.e. their A/A-bar status is subsumed under algorithms of chain formation. This eliminates any exponential complexity related to increasing functional categories, yet allows the cross-linguistic flexibility the A/A-bar distinction previously lacked.

Operator-variable chains are decomposed in two uniform chains connected through Agreement-chain formation, a strategy independently required for Null Operator Constructions which is here extended to AgrPs. AgrPs are thus the interface between A and A-bar chains, and an analysis of past-participle agreement in French is developed in that perspective.

Chapter 2 proposes a review of issues on Bounding theory relevent to Chain formation and the A/A-bar distinction. A theory of Weak and Weakest crossover effects which transcends the A/A-bar Chain distinction is developed in chapter 4.

Chapter 5 proposes a strict A/A-bar Chain Uniformity approach to scrambling paradoxes which drastically reduces the gap between scrambling and non-scrambling languages.

Chapter 6 is devoted to Null Operator Constructions in English and maintains that Tough movement and Purpose clauses shows properties typical of A-movement, and require a different treatment from other NOCs. The analysis capitalizes on the Unified Chain definition which encompasses all chain types by eliminating Case as a defining property of any chain, A-chains in particular.

Indexing (details)

Developmental psychology
0290: Linguistics
0291: Language
0620: Developmental psychology
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Language, literature and linguistics; agreement chain; syntax
A/A-bar chain uniformity
Canac Marquis, Rejean
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 55/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Speas, Margaret
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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