Ascending and Descending VPs in English

Janke, Vikki and Neeleman, A. (2012) Ascending and Descending VPs in English. Linguistic Inquiry, 43 (2). pp. 151-190. ISSN 0024-3892. (doi:10.1162/LING_a_00082) (Full text available)

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We argue that English allows both rightward-descending VP shell structures and more traditional rightward-ascending VPs. The choice between these depends on case theory and economy. Case theory triggers VP shell formation whenever the verb is merged with a DP object after it has been merged with some other category. The reason is that VP shell formation allows verb and object to surface in adjacent positions, a prerequisite for case licensing in English. Economy has the effect that in all other circumstances, VP shell formation is blocked. Our argument is based on a range of intricate data, many of which involve the distribution of object-oriented floating quantifiers. We end with a discussion of the binding data that are often taken to support a uniformly descending structure—incorrectly, in our view.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > English Language and Linguistics
Depositing User: Vikki Janke
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2012 14:09 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2016 15:22 UTC
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