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Query Details

Query Subject:   movement paradoxes
Author:   Carsten Breul
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   Dear all,

Bresnan (1991, 2001: 16ff.) presents the following examples
and judgments and points out that they pose a problem for
theories of syntax in which it is assumed that the _that_-
clause in front position is moved there from a position in
which it is complement of _of_ /_about_.

(1) a. *He didn't think of that he might be wrong (from id.
1991: 54)
b. That he might be wrong he didn't think of (from ib.)

(2) a. *We talked about that he was sick for days (from ib.
2001: 17)
b. That he was sick we talked about for days (from ib.)

Bresnan calls this observation "movement paradox". (But she
also notes (2001: 24, n. 2) that "in some dialects of
English examples like [{ REF _Ref518219611 }2a] do occur.")

A similar kind of movement paradox seems to hold in the
following examples (from Ward 1986/1988: 192ff.).

(3) a. We had both been thrown into the water to sink or
swim, and SWIM WE HAD - we had swum from very far apar
b.They told him that he had to be there all day long and
BE THERE ALL DAY LONG HE HAS! (constructed; Ward's judgment)
c. They provided us with enough beer to drink all day long
and DRINK ALL DAY WE HAVE! (ditto)
d. We had to stand firm, and STAND FIRM WE HAVE! (ditto)

In these cases, reconstitution of the (infinitival?) VP in
front position into post-auxiliar position does not give a
well-formed source for a movement operation.

Can anyone direct me to literature where this problem has
been addressed in a movement-framework (Principles &
Parameters, Minimalist Program)? Or does anyone have an
idea -- which (s)he might want to share -- how this problem
may be approached in a movement-framework? Am I allowed to
assume that the empirical claims (i.e. judgments) presented
above are supported by many native speakers of English?

I would be very grateful for comments, suggestions, hints


Bresnan, Joan. 1991. "Locative Case vs. Locative Gender".
In: Sutton, Laurel A. & Johnson, Christopher & Shields,
Ruth (eds.): Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Meeting
of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, February 15-18, 1991.
Berkeley (CA): Berkeley Linguistics Society. 53-66.

Bresnan, Joan. 2001. Lexical-Functional Syntax. Malden (MA)
& Oxford: Blackwell.

Ward, Gregory L. 1986/1988: The Semantics and Pragmatics of
Preposing. New York & London: Garland.

Dr. Carsten Breul
Universität Dortmund
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Emil-Figge-Str. 50
44221 Dortmund
phone: (0231) 755-2898

LL Issue: 12.2826
Date posted: 12-Nov-2001


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