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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: 9.1263

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Review:



[Editor's note: the following is the second part of a review
of Beerman et al. _Righward Movement_. The first part is to
be found in the previous issue of Linguist.]




Most of Frank Drijkoningen's paper `Morphological Strength: NP
Positions in French' (pp. 81-114) is devoted to a clever account of
the relative ordering of subjects and verbs, and parts thereof, in
French, with especially focus on inversion constructions,
demonstrating that the data can be described in a manner consistent
with Kayne's Antisymmetry theory -- provided one adopts a certain
amount of Occam-stretching multiplication of functional heads with
resultant multiple Spec-positions as `homes' for subjects.
Drijkoningen argues fairly convincingly for the following
hierarchical ordering of functional heads in French: [ C [ T [ Agr(S)
[ Agr(O) [ Agr (A) [VP]]]]]], identifying participial agreement not
with Agr(O) but with Agr(A), the checking-site for predicate-
adjective agreement. He also offers a hypothesis with regard to a
trigger for French Stylistic Inversion (in which the subject NP
follows the verbal complex). His assumption is that (in both French
and English) Spec-Head Agr features in Infl are `strong', while Head-
features in Infl are `strong' in French but `weak' in English.
However, overt saturation of Spec-Head Agr features in CP (e.g., by
fronting an overt wh-expression) significantly reduces the strength
of Spec-Head Agr features in IP, obviating the need for the subject
NP to rise to Spec-Agr(S) for checking.

The paper is characterized by heavy reliance on `floating/stranded
_tous_', i.e., a quantifier separated superficially from the NP it
modifies. This reviewer found little or no evidence of any awareness
of the possibility of Q-Movement independent of movement of the
modified NP; many of the starred strings could actually be derived,
assuming a Kayne approach, if Q were allowed to move on its own.
There was no sign of any argument that such movement is impossible;
perhaps it can be ruled out by lack of motivation.

This paper is a thick, but rather strong argument for underlying SVO
and exclusively Leftward-Movement in French. Of course, few
linguists would contest that French is SVO, and what evidence there
may be for Rightward-Movement in this language has always been a best
peripheral (pun intended). Given the strong arguments for RM and
head-finality in other languages presented by Bayer and Buring &
Hartmann, this paper seems like a lot of sound and fury.

Erik Hoekstra's paper, `Analysing Linear Asymmetries in the Verb
Clusters of Dutch and Frisian and their Dialects' (pp. 153-170),
presents an analysis in terms of Kayne's LCA hypothesis of the syntax
of the complex verb clusters so especially characteristic of these
languages. In the course of his discussion, it gradually becomes
clear that, on the basis of the ordering of elements within these
clusters, he distinguishes between Dutch and Frisian as respectively
`head-initial' and `head-final'. It is clear to this reviewer why
these labels are appropriate specifically with regard to the internal
syntax of verb clusters, but describing Dutch as `head-initial' is
likely to be a surprise to many people who thought they knew
otherwise.

In discussing the feasibility, or lack thereof, of inserting non-
verbal material (including particles) between members of a verb
cluster, Hoekstra not only demonstrates that this follows very
reasonably from the LCA-account he is proposing but claims (p. 158)
that `The rigidity of head-final clusters [i.e., their intolerance of
such insertion] ... is a mystery for any approach not incorporating
asymmetry.' In fact, it makes perfect sense if we assume an
underlying head-final order and the derivation of alternative orders
by the RM of verbal projections. This reviewer is not necessarily
suggesting that this is a *better* approach than Hoekstra's LCA-
account, but it is certainly quite feasible, contrary to his apparent
belief.

In the last section, Hoekstra spends a fair amount of time on a very
interesting discussion of the Infinitivum-pro-Participio (IPP)
effect, whereby in some Germanic languages (e.g., Dutch) a
(perfective) participle taking an infinitive verb as its complement
must itself surface in the form of an infinitive. The primary
questions at issue for Hoekstra are: What is the formal grammatical
nature of the IPP effect? and Why is it characteristic only of some
(Germanic) languages and not of others? Hoekstra argues that the IPP
effect only occurs in languages in which the perfective participle is
marked by a prefix, e.g. the Germanic prefix `ge-' or reflexes
thereof, and that this prefix occupies the Spec position of the verb
to which it is morphologically attached. Since under these
circumstances that Spec position is already occupied, it is
impossible for the infinitive complement to move into that position
as it must, the derivation crashes; the loophole exploited by Dutch
and other IPP languages (this is, in fact, the traditional analysis
in Germanic scholarship) is the substitution of an `alternative' form
of the participle which is morphophonologically identical to the
infinitive (and therefore, in Hoekstra's view, has no obstructionist
prefix). The fact that Frisian does not exhibit IPP effects,
according to this analysis, is directly related to the fact that in
Frisian the perfective participle is marked only by a suffix. This
reviewer admits to not being familiar with the scholarly literature
on the subject of IPP, but notes some curiosity as to how Hoekstra's
claim (p. 159) that `the IPP effect is systematically absent in head-
final Germanic dialects' can be squared with the fact that German,
which is clearly head-final in the sense that Hoekstra uses the term,
typically marks perfective participles with a prefix and, indeed,
exhibits IPP.

The last few pages of the paper are devoted to a very nice little
discussion of the recent evolution of IPP in a couple of Frisian
dialects, which Hoekstra argues is due in both cases to remarkably
heavy contact with Dutch. In this reviewer's opinion, this section
represents a very desirable conjunction of scholarship and concerns
in sociolinguistics and linguistic evolution on the one hand and
formal grammatical theory on the other.

In his paper `Movement in Japanese Relative Clauses' (pp. 171-185),
Satoshi Stanley Koike argues that all relative clauses in Japanese,
including the `externally-headed' ones whose `heads' are (apparently)
`extracted' to their right, can be accounted for in terms of a Kayne
LCA-type analysis allowing only Spec-Head-Comp base structures and
leftward movement. Noting certain problems resulting from adopting
Kayne's analysis, Koike makes clear that they are almost certainly
obviated by his (*very interesting*) proposal of a *discourse-based*
motivation for the leftward movement his adoption of Kayne's LCA
approach forces him to assume. Koike's hypothesis that the movement
of IP in these Japanese cases is essentially stylistic movement,
i.e., motivated by pragmatic or discourse considerations rather than
purely syntactic ones, at least implies that it is PF-movement which
would (1) account for the fact that, in order for his analysis to
make the right predictions, *have* to follow the movement of the
semantic `head' NP -- the latter being a proper `syntactic' movement
- (2) be invisible as far as Binding Theory is concerned, Binding
Theory being relevant primarily at LF and totally irrelevant at PF,
and (3) not be subject to Relativized Minimality either.

In their paper `Rightward Wh-Movement in American Sign Language' (pp.
247-278), Carol Neidle, Judy Kegl, Benjamin Bahan, Debra Aarons, &
Dawn MacLaughlin argue that Americal Sign Language (ASL) exhibits a
head-final CP with a right-marginal Spec as landing-site for wh-
movement. They note (p. 267) that this proposal `is partially
consistent with Kayne's claims about universal ordering', in that it
places Spec and Complement on opposite sides of the Head; however,
their proposal differs from Kayne's universal antisymmetry approach
in positing a head-final structure for CP while assuming head-initial
structures for all its complement-daughters.

Neidle et al. base much of their anti-LCA argument on the fact that
certain syntactic features (including polarity, +/- wh, etc.) are in
ASL expressed by `non-manual markers' (e.g., facial expressions)
which frequently spread over certain portions of the clauses they are
associated with, and the very plausible notion that those portions
can be defined as the c-command domains of the functional heads
associated with these features. Thus, the possibility, or lack
thereof, of such spreading in ASL is taken as symptomatic of the
presence or absence of c-command relations (p. 250). It is on the
basis of such spreading that they argue that the landing-site for wh-
movement in ASL, which is clearly to the right of the clause,
nevertheless c-commands the latter, and they demonstrate that these
c-command facts are incompatible with a Kayne-type analysis. They
briefly entertain analyses more consistent with Kayne's LCA-
hypothesis, involving the raising of C and IP into higher positions
(which, they note, must nevertheless be below positions, e.g. the
landing-site of topicalization, known to be above CP in ASL), but
point out that there is (1) no evidence as to the functional nature
of such positions, (2) no independent motivation for their existence,
and (3) no evident motivation for the movement they are discussing.

In their paper `Language Types and Generative Grammar: a Review of
Some Consequences of the Univeral VO Hypothesis' (pp. 331-357),
Caterina Donati & Alessandra Tomaselli address the repercussions of
Kayne's Antisymmetry Hypothesis for constituent-order typological
studies. They demonstrate very neatly and elegantly the manifold
empirical problems Kayne's approach has with languages representing a
variety of types, including (1) OV languages with V2 (German, Dutch),
(2) SVO languages without pro-drop (English, French), (3) SVO
languages with pro-drop (Italian), and (4) VSO languages (Irish).
Repeatedly, they demonstrate that more traditional analyses provide
more accurate results than analyses assuming Kayne's Antisymmetry
Hypothesis. It should be noted that Donati & Tomaselli are
throughout addressing specifically the relative ordering of verbs and
nominals in ordinary, garden-variety clauses; the details of
extraposed structures such as those discussed by Bayer, Buring &
Hartmann, and Haider are not addressed in this paper.

While as already noted half the papers in this collection,
understandably, discuss `extraposition', it is unfortunate that there
are no papers focussing (pun intended) on adverbal focus-movement, a
serious alternative candidate for a RM analysis (for which cf. Schaufele
1990, 1998). Neidle et al.'s paper relates to focus in an indirect way,
in that it is commonly assumed that wh-elements are a priori focussed
and that therefore their S-structure location, especially if there is
anything remarkable about it, should be considered as at least a
possible landing-site for focus-movement. As a sort of appendix, Koike
offers a short discussion of rightward focus-movement in Turkish, in which he
suggests that the same kind of discourse-analysis motivation he proposes
for the movement leftward of `backgrounded' relative clauses (away from
their semantic `heads') in Japanese can also motivate the movement
leftward of *non-focussed* arguments in Turkish, leaving the focussed
subject stranded in immediately pre-verbal position (at least in terms
of superficial order). This reviewer notes, however, that Koike makes
reference to a single Turkish example, a very simple clause involving
only three constituents, an object NP, a subject NP, and a verb, and
doubts very much that such an account as he proposes would be able to
make much sense out of the much more complex examples of
subject-focussing discussed in Schaufele 1990, 1998.

I have complaints about Muller's and Hoekstra's papers at an
expository level, in that both assumed on the part of the reader a
high degree of familiarity with the languages being discussed.
Muller provides no English translations for any of his German example
sentences, or for that matter of the one Hindi example sentence.
While this reviewer has little trouble reading and interpreting
example sentences in these languages, such facility cannot be
expected of most readers of this collection. Likewise, Hoekstra
offered no translations of any of his example sentences, and in many
cases this reviewer, who is not unfamiliar with a wide variety of
Germanic languages, was quite unable to make any sense out of them.
Furthermore, it is frequently not made clear which language the
example in question is meant to represent; since the paper as a whole
depends crucially on distinctions between Dutch and Frisian, this is
a source of serious obscurity. And only on p. 158, the 6th page of a
fairly short paper, does Hoekstra finally tell us that the gloss `MP'
stands for `modal particle', after having used this abbreviation
freely in several earlier examples. This abbreviation may be
familiar to specialists in Netherlandic, but it isn't to a lot of
other interested readers. In Koike's paper the inclusion of Japanese
words in the midst of the English-language text without any
typographical highlighting by either quotes or italics, especially in
a book with many typographical errors, proved a little unsettling;
this was also a problem in Muller's paper, where it was particularly
confusing in the one section that discussed extraposition in English.

The book as a whole is plagued with typographical errors. There are
two examples (59) in Drijkoningen's paper. Haider's (58a) is
starred, but is in fact an OK string, and it's obvious from context
that Haider regards it as OK. In Buring & Hartmann's paper, there
are exs. (21a) and (22a), but no (21b) or (22b); diagram (24) is
nowhere referred to in the text (though it's pretty obvious what it
refers to). [Bayer in Press] is referred to several times in Bayer's
paper, but it doesn't appear anywhere in the references; perhaps it's
represented by Bayer 1996? The statement of Wiltschko's Locality
Constraint is misprinted on p. 360 in such a way as to be
nonsensical. In Koike's paper the alignment of the glosses in (20a)
was impossible to make any sense out of, and i had to study (10) a
while before i realized that, although it said literally `[DP IP D
[CP NP/QP [ C [IP ...', those biliterals `DP', `CP', and `IP' were in
some instances meant to be labels on the immediately preceding
brackets, not left-daughters of the constituents enclosed within said
brackets. Mahajan's paper is particularly plagued with typographical
errors; to mention merely the most egregious example i found, in (54)
the entire direct object NP is missing from the Hindi string,
rendering this example's relevance to the discussion is completely
opaque.

As already noted here and there, many of the substantive flaws in
this collection are due primarily or entirely to lack of space in
which to present relevant arguments. Fulfilling the preface's
promise of open-mindedness, the book brings together papers from
several different viewpoints, both supporting and undermining Kayne's
Antisymmetry Hypothesis. While many of the contributors obviously
hold rather strongly to whatever side of this controversy they
espouse, many of them are to be commended for the skill and
seriousness they nevertheless give to the necessary task of
considering possible alternative analyses that would support the
other side. While many of the papers focus on languages, and
constructions within those languages, that have already been much
discussed in the generative literature, there are some admirable
exceptions; i would especially mention the papers by Bayer, Hoekstra,
and Neidle et al. in this regard, also the typological interest
behind the paper by Donati & Tomaselli although they restrict
themselves primarily to Western European languages. Anyone concerned
about understanding the debates arising out of Kayne's Antisymmetry
hypothesis and the grounds both for taking it seriously and for
rejecting it cannot afford to ignore this collection.

References.

Bayer, Josef. (1996) Directionality and Logical Form: On the Scope
of Focusing Particles and Wh-in-Situ. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Gould, Stephen J. (1993) `An Earful of Jaw', Eight Little Piggies,
pp. 95-108. New York: Norton.

Heim, I. (1980) The Semantics of Definite and Indefinite Noun
Phrases. University of Massachusetts Ph.D. dissertation.

Hock, Hans Henrich. (1986) Principles of Historical Linguistics.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Kayne, Richard. (1994) The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press.

Rochemont, Michael S. & Peter W. Culicover. (1990) English Focus
Constructions and the Theory of Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Schaufele, Steven. (1990) `A "Focus" Position for Subjects Within
the Vedic VP' South Asian Languages Roundtable XII, University of
California at Berkeley, 10 June 1990.

______. (1998) `Rightward Ho! The Typology of Structural Focus and
Complement-Head Order; a Critical Discussion of Antisymmetry,
Rightward Movement, and the Syntax/Pragmatics Interface' GLOW-
Hyderabad, 22 Jan. 1998.

Steven Schaufele's research interests during the past dozen years
have included, most significantly, the typology of constituent-order
freedom and the repercussions thereof for formal syntactic theory, as
well as the critical comparison of various approaches to syntactic
theory. He is currently teaching linguistics in the English
Department of Soochow University in Taipei, Taiwan.

-
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



 
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