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The notion of projection in generative linguistic theory has for the most part been a matter of stipulation. In syntax, X-bar theory codified the projection of a head to a phrase, via an intermediate pro≠jection level involving complementation; adjuncts could freely be added to the structure via the adjunction operation. Movement of a phrase into the periphery of a higher projection involved either substitution for a specifier position or adjunction; either way, the target of movement was guaranteed to project, by virtue of the X-bar-theoretic principles. In the minimalist program, the requirement that the target of movement project was derived indepen≠dent≠ly, and X-bar structure was simplified or abolished altogether (Kayne 1994, Chomsky 1995:Chapter 4, Brody 1998, 2000). Without X-bar structure stipulating the organi≠zation of syntactic phrases, fundamental questions arise regarding the nature of and constraints on projection. Pro≠jections might not have to have a (unique) head. Perhaps the labelling problem posed by XP–YP structures could help derive a central in≠gredient of the standardly adopted derivation of long-distance filler–gap depen≠dencies: successive-cyclic movement (Chomsky 2013). Thus exploited, problems of projection may then turn from explanandum into ≠≠explicans

The notion of projection is centrally tied in with the representation of syntactic structure. Are syntactic structures projected from a head to a phrase, or are phrases traced back to their heads? Are filler–gap dependencies, constructions in which an element is pronounced in a position in which it seems unable to perform its role as an argument, predicate or modifier, derived via upward displacement of the filler or instead base-generated in a representational approach that traces the filler from its pronunciation position back to the gap (see Brody 2002 for critical discussion)? The derivational approach has had the upper hand in the generative approach, leading to the postulation of intermediate links in a chain derived by successive-cyclic movement. The applicability of the derivational approach to all cases of apparent dis≠placement has frequently been called into question; the successive cyclicity that the standard approach embodies has become the subject of debate as well. If non-derivational approaches are desirable for certain cases, perhaps a purely representational approach would be applicable to all filler–gap dependencies uniformly. With this comes the prospect of the grammar and the parser being folded into a single mechanism for the building of structures and the dependencies within them.

This conference is held in honour of the 60th birthday of Michael Brody. It will feature talks by invited speakers from Brody’s circle (former and present colleagues and students) who have contributed to questions of projection and representation in syntactic theory. In addition, the conference will have a poster session that is open for submissions on any topic related to the theme of the conference (projection and representation in syntactic theory).

  • List of speakers

    Michael Brody, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

    Huba Bartos, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

    Marcel den Dikken , Hungarian Academy of Sciences & CUNY Graduate Center

    Katalin …. Kiss, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

    Liliane Haegeman, University of Ghent

    Hans van de Koot, University College London

    Rita Manzini, University of Florence

    Ad Neeleman, University College London

    Kriszta Szendrői, University College London

Abstracts are solicited for posters on any topic related to the theme of the conference.