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Review of  Rightward Movement


Reviewer: Steven W. Schaufele
Book Title: Rightward Movement
Book Author: Dorothee Beermann David Leblanc Henk van Riemsdijk
Publisher: John Benjamins
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
Subject Language(s): American Sign Language
Bengali
Dutch
Frisian, Western
French
German
Hindi
Japanese
Marathi
Book Announcement: 9.1262

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Review:


[Editor's note: This is part one of a two part review. The second
part appears in the next issue of LINGUIST]



Beerman, Dorothee, David LeBlanc, & Henk van Riemsdijk, eds. (1997)
Rightward Movement (Linguistik aktuell 17) Amsterdam: Benjamins. 406
pp.

This is a proceedings volume collecting together papers presented in
Oct. 1995 at the Tilburg Conference on Rightward Movement. The
editors mention two or three papers that were presented at the
conference but were not including in this proceedings volume. I say
`two or three' because, although they mention three authors (Kayne,
Koike, and Truckenbrodt), Koike actually has a paper in this volume;
i do not know why his name is included in the list of authors whose
papers were not included. At the back of the book, a complete list
of addresses (snail- and e-mail) of the contributors is included.

The Editors' Preface (with van Riemsdijk named as principal author)
provides a very nice summary of the relevant issues and their
background in the literature. Special note is taken of repercussions
of recent work in Minimalist Program (e.g., Kayne 1994) for the whole
notion of `rightward movement' (hereafter RM). This reviewer would
note in particular that, although it is commonly supposed that, as
stated in the preface, `In a minimalist approach, movement is
exclusively triggered by checking .... Given this new line of
thinking, Rightward Movement simply cannot be triggered, hence it
cannot exist', some of the contributors -- e.g., Alphonce & Davis,
Buring & Hartmann -- demonstrate that it is in fact possible to
develop hypotheses within the Minimalist framework that would enable
triggering of such movement.

Of the 14 papers in the collection, it is hardly surprising that 7
deal with `extraposition' (defined in various ways), and four of
those are concerned primarily with one aspect or other of
extraposition in German. I will discuss these extraposition papers
as a group before considering the others.

Josef Bayer's paper `CP-Extraposition as Argument Shift' (pp. 37-58)
begins with a very nice, neat summary of problems with classical
extraposition account (via RM) for postverbal CPs in V-final
languages (focussing particularly on Bengali, Hindi, and German),
noting that these problems disappear under a Kayne-type analysis.
However, he goes on to note definite empirical problems with a Kayne-
type analysis. He then proposes an analysis according to which a
complement is right-adjoined to the maximal projection of its
governing head (in this case VP), leaving behind a trace as sole
sister of that head (V). If that trace is then deleted and the tree
is pruned, the V ends up with a complement to its right which it can
theta-mark. Alternatively, Bayer suggests, at least some
`extraposed' CPs may be base-generated to the right, co-indexed with
a (dummy/deletable) pronominal, by inheritance from which they are
licensed. Bayer notes that this would help account for the fact that
in some OV languages (e.g., Bengali), certain classes of CPs are
*always* `extraposed'. If we assume that directionality is relevant
to selection, then the resulting VP constitutes a barrier to a CP on
the `non-canonical' side of the head, which would account for the
scope effects Bayer notes earlier as being problematic for both the
traditional account and the Kayne-type account.

In `Rightward Scrambling' (pp. 186-214), Anoop Mahajan argues on the
basis of various relations sensitive to c-command that postverbal
nominal arguments in Hindi are merely constituents left behind while
everything else has moved leftwards. This analysis supersedes the RM
analysis he proposed in an unpublished paper ten years ago and is
deliberately consistent with an analysis based on Kayne's Linear
Correspondence Axiom (hereafter LCA). This reviewer notes that many
of Mahajan's arguments necessarily presuppose certain possibly
dubious tacit assumptions, e.g., that RM must necessarily involve
adjunction specifically to IP (contrary to the approach proposed in,
e.g., Muller's, Wiltschko's, and Rochemont & Culicover's papers).
For instance, the string in Mahajan's (33), which he marks (???)
could be generated -- and its unacceptability accounted for -- by
right-adjunction of the direct object to VP rather than IP. Nowhere
does Mahajan actually address what in this reviewer's opinion is the
most basic issue with questions like this: Is there or is there not
any evidence of a *gap* corresponding to the postverbal material?

Michael S. Rochemont & Peter W. Culicover in `Deriving Dependent
Right Adjuncts in English' (pp. 279-300) discuss various
constructions in English, all of which might be included under a
rather broadly-defined concept of `extraposition'. Distinguishing
between the extraposition of relative clauses on the one hand and
Heavy-NP Shift and Presentational-There Insertion on the other, they
argue that Relative-Clause Extraposition is best treated as (1) base-
generated and (2) right-adjunction to the governing category (VP, IP,
or CP) of the antecedent to the extraposed RC. They make an effort
to conjure up plausible analyses of RC-Extraposition involving Kayne-
style leftward-movement but note that none of the possibilities they
consider are quite satisfactory. Even the `best' option, involving
movement of both the RC and its antecedent to distinct Spec
positions, fails to provide any motivation for either the posited
movement or the highly ramified structure such an analysis requires.

Expanding on earlier work of their own (Rochemont & Culicover 1990),
Rochemont & Culicover argue that Heavy-NP Shift and Presentational-
There Insertion are best treated as instances of movement to a right-
adjoined A'-position. They demonstrate that, quite apart from the
problems discussed in Rochemont & Culicover 1990, any attempt to
analyze such constructions by means of exclusively leftward movement
involves the extremely unattractive movement of what is not, in fact,
by any stretch of the imagination a recognizable constituent. In the
end, they acknowledge that there are some empirical problems shared
by both the rightward-movement account they apparently prefer and the
`movement to high specifier' account that would be more consistent
with a Kayne-type approach, but that the latter raises some provoking
theoretical problems that are absent from their rightward-movement
account. They conclude by saying that `the question whether
rightward movement exists or not ... is not an empirical one.'

Daniel Buring & Katharina Hartmann's paper `The Kayne Mutiny' (pp.
59-80) presents an excellent argument for the empirical bankruptcy of
the Kayne Antisymmetry hypothesis. Making crucial use of
reconstruction at LF and of Binding-Theoretic statements referring to
(undeleted) traces, B&H's argument is built upon the prediction that,
if extraposition is a consequence of RM, it ought to be possible for
a proper binding relation *not* to exist between an NP and a CP later
in the sentence -- if the NP happens to be in a hierarchically lower
position, from which neither it nor any of its daughters is able to
c-command the CP (such a lack of binding relation is a priori
impossible in a Kayne analysis, according to which any NP to the left
of a CP must ipso facto c-command it). They then demonstrate that
such binding failures are in fact attested, and are indeed not all
that difficult to come up with in a language like German. (At the
end of section 2, they acknowledge some confusing results with regard
to coreference options, concluding that these `require further
investigation'.) They further demonstrate (section 3) that the Kayne
analysis actually does serious violence to many standard assumptions
about movement, including (similarly to Rochemont & Culicover) issues
of what qualifies as a (movable) constituent and under what
circumstances a constituent may be `stranded'. (It's from this
surreptitiously iconoclastic character of Kayne's hypothesis that
they get their clever title.) And they demonstrate that verb-
topicalization ought to be impossible in a Kayne analysis, although
of course it's quite common in German.

In order to account for the complications with regard to island-
constraint violations, etc. that have presented problems for earlier
versions of a RM-analysis of extraposition in German and similar
languages, B&H propose (p. 72) a generalization according to which
finite clauses may never be governed by either V or I. This provides
an actual motivation for CP-Extraposition, since presumably in its DS
position a complement clause is governed by the matrix verb, and in
order to escape that government must be right-adjoined to some higher
phrasal node, presumably IP. This is in direct conflict with Bayer's
analysis, according to which the extraposed CP ends up being governed
by the matrix verb as a result of the deletion of its own trace and
tree-pruning; which analysis is to be preferred ought to be an
empirical problem.

Hubert Haider's paper `Extraposition' (115-152) argues on the basis
of the extraposition of comparatives and the c-command relations
essential thereto in English and German (mostly German) that
extraposed constituents remain embedded in their DS mothers. Haider
further argues that extraposed relative and argument clauses must
also be VP-internal, since although they aren't subject to the same
c-command relations themselves, they always come *before* extraposed
comparatives which are. Broadening his scope in Section 2 to other
examples of German extraposition, Haider demonstrates that they can't
result from movement and must therefore be base-generated. But, on
the basis of scope, c-command, and absence of island-effects, he also
argues against an analysis in terms of base-generated adjunction.

Haider agrees with Kayne in assuming exclusive Leftward Movement;
however, he allows for either head-initial or head-final base
structures, and invokes head movement while Kayne invokes phrasal
movement. Haider presents several predictions that Kayne's LCA
theory would have for a language such as German, which he then
demonstrates are all falsified by the actual data: (1) Phrases to the
left of the verb should be in Spec-positions, and should therefore be
islands (2) VP-adverbials and predicates should end up in postverbal
position, since there's nothing to trigger their movement (3) VP-
topicalization ought to involve the movement of a functional
projection containing a trace of the finite verb.

In `Extraposition as Remnant Movement' (p. 215-246), Gereon Muller
offers a very neat analysis of extraposition in German as right-
adjunction to a variety of phrasal nodes, including CP as well as VP
or IP, thereby accounting for various otherwise problematic details
with regard to island effects in both leftward- and rightward-moved
constituents. The paper includes a very interesting and useful
comparative discussion of the adequacy of a variety of different
proposed constraints for excluding unacceptable strings while
allowing acceptable ones.

Martina Wiltschko's paper, `Extraposition, Identification and
Precedence' (pp. 358-396), a summary of her 1995 Wien dissertation,
discusses extraposition in German, focussing on the relation of
*Identification* between the `identifyee', the (pro)nominal element
(NP or DP) in the canonical position within the clause and the
`identifier', the extraposed constituent. Both identifyee and
identifier provide linguistically necessary information: The
identifyee occupies a canonical (theta-)position, therefore
satisfying syntactic requirements, while the identifier provides
necessary semantic content to licence the identifyee's definiteness.
Given that the identifyee *introduces* a discourse referent, it must
(on the basis of Heim's (1980) Novelty Condition) precede the
identifier. Wiltschko also argues for a Locality Constraint on
Identification, according to which the identifier must c-command the
identifyee, without any intervening XP; thus, the identifier must be
right-adjoined to the minimal maximal projection dominating the
identifyee. In Wiltschko's view, these two constraints together
account for the fact that identifiers are always extraposed. She
acknowledges that this analysis apply only to *restrictive relative
clauses*, not to other types of modifiers. Attractive as the paper
is in many ways, it suffers somewhat from the necessary exclusion of
many supporting arguments, for which the interested reader is
referred to the full-length dissertation.

Two of the papers are concerned primarily with parsing theory and the
development of adequate parsing technology. Both of these papers,
coming from different points of view, argue for a data-driven,
bottom-up parsing strategy as against a hypothesis-driven top-down
strategy. In `On Movement and One-Pass No Backtrack Parsing' (pp.
301-330), Chris Sijtsma recognizes that `natural' (i.e., single-pass,
no backtracking, faithful to derivation) bottom-up parsers are less
restrictive than natural top-down parsers, which of course from the
point of view of strict generative theory is a point against them,
but assumes that there is enough variation among actual languages
that a bottom-up parsing strategy is to be preferred. This reviewer
finds such a conclusion attractive, but worries that Sijtsma has
provided so little in the way of empirical demonstration to back it
up; indeed, for such a mathematically-oriented paper (at least
relative to this reviewer's experience), there is extremely little in
the way of solid argument presented; most of the time, Sijtsma merely
asserts that the proof of any given theorem is either self-evident or
readily derivable; in a few cases, he refers to demonstrations
elsewhere in the literature. Another issue both of these papers
consider very seriously, without, however, either of them coming up
with a very satisfactory solution, is the proper size of the look-
ahead window for an adequate parser. Sijtsma asserts (pp. 305-6)
that any grammar with a look-ahead window greater than 1 is
functionally equivalent to a grammar that looks ahead just one
symbol, but then goes on to say, `In practice we still need ...
parsers that look ahead more than one symbol.' In subsequent
discussion it becomes clear that he is unclear just how large a look-
ahead window is empirically adequate. Likewise, Alphonce & Davis,
while currently working with a look-ahead window of `at most two
chunks' (p. 25), are clearly dissatisfied with this characterization.
It is clear that this issue needs more thought, if not further
research, devoted to it.

A fundamental claim of the paper by Carl Alphonce & Henry Davis,
`Motivating Non-directional Movement' (pp. 7-36), is that Linear Precedence
constraints, indeed LP phenomena of any kind, have no relevance for
syntax at all; essentially, they claim that, from the point of view
of all syntactic levels including LF, constituents are organized
hierarchically in terms of dominance relations but not linearly in
terms of precedence relations. In Alphonce & Davis' view, all
precedence relations are imposed at PF, making them essentially
matters of performance rather than competence. In the opinion of
this reviewer, this is a very interesting and possibly attractive
idea. Unfortunately, contrary to the promise contained in the
abstract, this claim is not so much argued for as assumed within the
paper. Nor is it made clear -- to this reviewer, anyway -- that it
is explicitly argued for anywhere else, unlike the skipped arguments
behind Wiltschko's paper and the citations given in Sijtsma's paper.
Alphonce & Davis merely demonstrate that it is possible to develop an
analytic approach -- more precisely, a parsing program -- that has no
need for any kind of explicit syntactic constraints, at any level
(whether UG or language-particular), making reference to linear
order.

At the end of their abstract, Alphonce & Davis claim that they are
motivated by a conviction that `it is a priori desirable to eliminate
as much redundancy as possible between different components of the
system.... if some phenomena has [sic] an independent processing
explanation we hold that syntactic theory should not have to offer
any explanation for it.' This approach is all very well in a purely
formal mathematical system, but it is fairly common knowledge that
redundancy is in fact a sine qua non of biological systems (cf. e.g.
Gould 1993) and of natural-linguistic systems as well (cf. e.g. Hock
1986, ch. 9 & 12; this fact is also acknowledged by Chris Sijtsma in
his paper, p. 314). The mere fact that one can develop a parsing
program that has no need to appeal to syntactic LP constraints,
therefore, in no way demonstrates that such constraints have no place
in human natural-language competence.

Much of Sijtsma's paper is devoted to developing points (regarding,
e.g., the proper type(s) and subcategorization frame(s) of PPs) that
are clearly relevant to his primary concern, which is developing an
adequate automated parsing grammar, but are tangential to the focus
of the collection. In arguing, contrary to Kayne, that UG does not
stipulate one universal tree-structure for all languages, Sijtsma
gets a fair amount of mileage out of replacing the assumption that
node-labels are atomic with the assumption that they are merely
shorthand for feature-bundles. Though he doesn't mention this, this
replacement has actually been implicit in X-Bar Theory ever since the
early 70's. With regard to directionality of movement, Sijtsma
argues that rightward movement must be allowed by UG, with this
caveat: In deriving SS from DS, leftward movement is unrestricted but
rightward movement of modifiers (which don't leave obvious gaps)
should not exceed the look-ahead buffer; on the other hand, in
deriving LF from SS rightward movement is unrestricted but leftward


[Editor's note: This review is continued in the next issue of LINGUIST]


-
Steven Schaufele, Ph.D., Asst. Prof. of Linguistics, English Department

Soochow University, Waishuanghsi Campus, Taipei 11102, Taiwan, ROC

(886)(02)2881-9471 ext. 6504 fcosw5@mbm1.scu.edu.tw

http://www.prairienet.org/~fcosws/homepage.html



***O syntagmata linguarum liberemini humanarum!***

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