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Lecture

syntax

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Department
Linguistics
Course
LING 201
Professor
Brian Mc Gill
Semester
Winter

Description
LING 201: Introduction to Linguistics 9th Conference: Syntax 4 A. R EVIEW OF HEAD MOVEMENT IN ENGLISH AND FRENCH Draw the correct tree diagram for each of the sentences in (a). Then make reference to the tree you have drawn to explain why the corresponding (b) sentence is ungrammatical. (1) a. She often loses her umbrella. b. *She loses often her umbrella. Reason for the ungrammaticality of (b): In English, a main verb like lose cannot undergo head movement, including V to I movement, and therefore must remain in the V position where it is merged. (The tense features in the otherwise empty I position are then expressed on the verb in V.) Since this V position follows the adverb in the specifier of VP (given the X’-schema for English), the order in (b) is excluded. (2) a. He is always sweeping the kitchen. b. *He is sweeping always the kitchen. Reason for the ungrammaticality of (b): In order to arrive at the word order in (b), sweeping would have to undergo head movement to a position after the subject. Since the only possible landing site for such a movement, the I position, is already filled by the auxiliary, sweeping must remain in the V position where it is merged. (3) a. He does not sweep the kitchen. b. *He not sweeps the kitchen. Reason for the ungrammaticality of (b): In English, when negation not appears between I and V, it prevents the tense feature in an otherwise empty I node from being expressed on the verb in V. If the verb in V is a main verb like sweep, a form of do must be inserted under I to express the tense feature (“do- support”). (4) a. Elle perd souvent son parapluie. b. *She loses often her umbrella. Reason for the ungrammaticality of (b): same as in (1) above. The French (a) sentence is grammatical because in French all verbs can undergo V to I movement. (5) a. Vois-tu le livre? b. *See you the book? Reason for the ungrammaticality of (b): For this word order to obtain in English, see would have to move from V to I to C. However, in English (unlike French) a main verb like see cannot undergo any head movement. (6) a. Is he sweeping the kitchen? b. *Does he be sweeping the kitchen? Reason for the ungrammaticality of (b): In English, wh
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