• Ling-E. Discoveries and Puzzles in Syntax (*semi-advanced)

    (Susi Wurmbrand, University of Connecticut)

    This class is semi-advanced. It will be taught at a level usually found in second-semester graduate syntax classes: some background in syntax will be assumed but no prior familiarity with the topics will be expected.

    In this course, we will investigate three puzzles and discoveries related to variable clause size, the A/A’-distinction, and finiteness.
    #1 Clause size phenomena:
    Theories of variable clause size consider either phenomena falling under the rubric of restructuring (such as clitic climbing, scrambling, passive across the boundary of an embedded clause) or clause size reduction in A-movement contexts (such as CP-omission in ECM and raising). Since the two sets of phenomena do not necessarily go hand-in-hand (for instance, German allows extensive restructuring, but does not allow ECM in attitude contexts), the question is if and how the two types of clause size phenomena can be treated in a uniform way.
    #2 ECM, raising, and the A/A'-distinction:
    In traditional GB/Minimalism approaches, ECM and raising are considered to only be possible from infinitives since only non-finite complements allow a truncated structure. However, there is by now ample evidence attesting that case dependencies across finite clause boundaries, possibly also A-movement, exist in certain languages. We will review such cases and explore which approaches can handle the distribution of finiteness in A-dependencies.
    #3 The status of finiteness in grammar:
    The last puzzle we will touch on is the question of what the function of finiteness is in grammar. Is it a phenomenon of syntax, semantics, morphology, or a combination of these components?