Scrambling and the Survive Principle

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Languages with free word orders pose daunting challenges to linguistic theory because they raise questions about the nature of grammatical strings. Ross, who coined the term <i>Scrambling</i> to refer to the relatively ‘free’ word orders found in Germanic languages (among others) notes that “… the problems involved in specifying exactly the subset of the strings which will be generated … are far too complicated for me to even mention here, let alone come to grips with” (1967:52). This book offers a radical re-analysis of middle field <i>Scrambling</i>. It argues that <i>Scrambling</i> is a concatenation effect, as described in Stroik’s (1999, 2000, 2007) <i>Survive</i> analysis of minimalist syntax, driven by an interpretable referentiality feature [Ref] to the middle field, where syntactically encoded features for temporality and other world indices are checked. The purpose of this book is to investigate the syntactic properties of middle field <i>Scrambling</i> in synchronic West Germanic languages, and to explore, to what possible extent we can classify <i>Scrambling</i> as a ‘syntactic phenomenon’ within <i>Survive</i>-minimalist desiderata.

Subjects: Syntax; Theoretical linguistics; Generative linguistics; Germanic linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: Carson-Newman College

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