What the theories of Fox & Pesetsky (F&P) and Erteschik-Shir (ES) have in common is that they both account for Holmberg’s Generalization (HG) in terms of linearization. That is virtually the only thing they have in common, though, and even that is more a nominal than a substantial resemblance. For one thing, in F&P it is a matter of linearization of VP constituents as part of the narrow-syntactic derivation, in ES a matter of linearization of adverbs in relation to verb and object in a model where phonology / prosody determines word order. They can’t both be right, but they can both be wrong, which, however, we can’t be certain of until the set of hypotheses they propose have been thoroughly investigated and tested.
Below I will present some critical remarks on both theories, pointing out some possible false predictions in F&P in section 2, and one or two possible flaws in ES in section 3. In section 4 I will consider how the two theories fare with respect to properties of Object Shift (OS) which they do not themselves take up. In section 5 I will briefly consider the problem of inverted objects.
© Walter de Gruyter