Marcel den Dikken (CUNY – MTA NYTI)

Find the gap: On structure building and the formation of filler-gap dependencies in syntax



2014. november 18., 11.00


In the mainstream generative approach, syntactic structures are standardly built in a "bottom-up" fashion (i.e., from the leaves to the root of the tree), and filler-gap dependencies are customarily derived via movement up the tree, via a succession of local steps (successive cyclicity). In this talk, I will present an alternative, "top-down" approach to syntactic structure building and the representation of filler-gap dependencies that is motivated by an outlook on the locality of syntactic dependencies predicated on the premise that local domains for syntactic computation (so-called phases) are wholly impenetrable and defined in terms of predication and Agree relations. It will be shown that this top-down approach presents an explanatory outlook on classic "Subjacency" and "ECP" effects, and establishes a close connection between syntactic derivation and sentence processing.