Syntactic Effects of Conjunctivist Semantics

Unifying movement and adjunction

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This book explores the syntactic and semantic properties of movement and adjunction in natural language. A precise formulation of minimalist syntax is proposed, guided by an independently motivated hypothesis about the composition of neo-Davidsonian logical forms, in which there is no atomic movement operation and no atomic adjunction operation. The terms 'movement' and 'adjunction' serve only as convenient labels for certain combinations of other, primitive operations, and as a result the system derives non-trivial predictions about how movement and adjunction should interact; in particular, it yields natural explanatory accounts of the constituency of adjunction structures, the possibility of counter-cyclic attachment, and the prohibitions on extraction from adjoined domains (adjunct islands) and from moved domains (freezing effects). This work serves as a case study in deriving explanations for syntactic patterns from a restrictive theory of semantic composition, and in using an explicit grammatical framework to inform rigourous minimalist theorising.

Subjects: Semantics; Syntax; Generative linguistics; Theoretical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: Yale University

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