Rightward movement from a different perspective

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A left-to-right (Phillips 1996) top-down (Chesi 2004, 2007) Minimalist Grammar is a generative procedure that operates on lexical items of a given language using minimalist structure building operations in order to isolate the best possible approximation of the (infinite) set of well-formed linguistic expressions of this language. In such a framework, all long-distance dependencies are “rightward” dependencies; given that the dependency trigger must be found first (e.g. in A′ dependencies, any DP/QP argument in a pre-verbal position is a dependency trigger), then the dependent (possibly non-local) constituent must be unambiguously identified (e.g. the selecting verbal head). Using a memory buffer (a well-known computational device) to store and retrieve constituents in a principled order/way so as to deal with long distance dependencies, we can correctly characterize standard (successive cyclic) movement, islandhood (Chesi 2004, 2007), parasitic gap constructions (Bianchi & Chesi 2008), quantifier raising (Bianchi & Chesi 2010) and A-binding (Bianchi 2009). In this paper, I will show that classic rightward movements such as Extraposition and Heavy NP-Shift can also be accommodated, cross-linguistically, in such a framework, thus maintaining discrimination of special properties (i.e. clause-boundedness, adjunct/argument asymmetries with respect to movement directionality, and the definiteness constraint) that make Extraposition and Heavy NP-Shift peculiar compared to standard “leftward” movement.


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