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V-movement in affirmative replies and copy deletion

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Anders Holmberg


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In the paper 'Constraining copy deletion' Tue Trinh proposes a principle which says that a copy can be deleted only if it ends a phonological phrase. Given the theory assumed, this makes the prediction that when X° is topicalized (A’-moved) from a head-initial phrase, the copy cannot be deleted, resulting in doubling of the X°, but when X° is topicalized from a head-final phrase, the copy can be deleted. This prediction is shown by Tue Trinh to be right for the VO languages Hebrew (V-topicalization) and Thai (V and N-topicalization), and the OV languages German and Dutch. The VO languages Norwegian and Swedish appear at first blush to be counterexamples, exhibiting V-topicalization without doubling, but are shown not have V-topicalization but remnant VP-topicalization. I will first comment, very briefly, on the case of Swedish, supporting Trinh’s contention that it is not a counterexample. Then I will discuss an X°-fronting construction which potentially provides an interesting testing ground for Tue Trinh's hypothesis, namely predicate fronting in affirmative replies to yes/no-questions. I will discuss a possible problem from that construction based on a comparison of Finnish and Cantonese Chinese. In Finnish the copy of the fronted V° is deleted, but in Cantonese Chinese it is not, even though in both cases the copy is in a structurally equivalent position.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holmberg A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Theoretical Linguistics

Year: 2009

Volume: 35

Issue: 2-3

Pages: 269-276

ISSN (print): 0301-4428

ISSN (electronic): 1613-4060

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter


DOI: 10.1515/THLI.2009.016


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