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Theoretical Linguistics

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Editor-in-Chief: Krifka, Manfred

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How Phonological is Object Shift?

Peter Svenonius1


Citation Information: Theoretical Linguistics. Volume 31, Issue 1-2, Pages 215–227, ISSN (Online) 1613-4060, ISSN (Print) 0301-4428, DOI: 10.1515/thli.2005.31.1-2.215, July 2005

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The papers here represent very different analyses of Object Shift (OS), and take very different positions on the interaction of phonology and syntax, an area in which there are many unsettled questions.

Mainstream work tends to hold that syntax is blind to phonological content, with certain exceptions, for example sometimes phonetically null elements require special syntactic licensing (Chomsky 1981), or certain syntactic rules only apply to nodes with phonetically visible features (Holmberg 2001). Basically falling within the mainstream are proposals that syntactic movement can be blocked by or driven by requirements that have phonological effect at the output, such as adjacency (Bobaljik 1995, Kidwai 1999) or rules matching prosodic structure with focus structure (Zubizarreta 1998). Such accounts generally describe movements in the syntactic terms of specifiers and feature checking and so on, and do not rely on the visibility to syntax of strictly phonological features. We can call these all Syntactic accounts. Most accounts of OS are Syntactic in these terms, for example those of Holmberg (1986), Holmberg and Platzack (1995), and Bobaljik (1995, 2002).

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