COPYRIGHT YEAR

2003

AUTHORS

Geoffrey Finch

TITLE

Studying Syntax

ABSTRACT

Syntax is one of those words which can usually be relied on to send a shudder down the spine of many a prospective student. The word itself conjures up images of Latin grammars with their fearful talk of parsing, conjugations, and declensions; all very technical and rather dry. And even though modern linguistics has left much of that behind, it’s still the case, as the linguist Steven Pinker points out, that a fair amount of scholarly writing is impenetrable to the ordinary reader, as this extract illustrates: To summarise, we have been led to the following conclusions, on the assumption that the trace of a zero-level category must be properly governed. 1. VP is a-marked by I. 2. Only lexical categories are L-markers, so that VP is not L-marked by I. 3. α-government is restricted to sisterhood without the qualification (35). 4. Only the terminus of an X°-chain can amark or Case mark. 5. Head-to-head movement forms an A-chain. 6. SPEC-head agreement and chains involve the same indexing. 7. Chain coindexing holds of the links of an extended chain. 8. There is no accidental coindexing of I. 9. I–V coindexing is a form of head-to-head agreement; if it is restricted to aspectual verbs, then base-generated structures of the form (174) count as adjunction structures. 10. Possibly, a verb does not properly govern its α–marked complement. (Pinker, 1995, p. 104)

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