Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 28, 2011

Verb movement: The contrast between English and Polish

Madoka Murakami


This paper discusses V features, nominative case checking, and V movement in Chomsky’s (1995, 2001) minimalist program, explains the facets of the English subjunctive and imperative, and contrasts the difference of V movement between English and Polish. I propose the V feature specifications [−Tense, +Agr] and [+Tense, −Agr] for the English subjunctive and imperative respectively. Under this analysis, the auxiliary do can be solely inserted into [+Tense], which is an independent case checker, while [+Agr] is a dependent case checker which must be activated by another head under adjacent head-to-head relation (Raposo 1987).

It is further illustrated that the finite V carries [+Tense, +Agr] in English, but [+Tense, +Agr, +Mood] for earlier English and other European languages such as Polish. The claim is that the diachronic change of V movement should not be attributed to any impoverishment of agreement morphology, but to the demise of mood morphology, and that V raising can be accounted for in terms of the strength of I by counting the number of positive features: The more, the stronger. The peculiar behavior of by plus an agreement suffix in Polish subjunctives can also be explained by setting up MoodP which hosts [+Agr, +Mood] in its head.

Received: 2011-01-04
Revised: 2011-06-02
Accepted: 2011-06-03
Published Online: 2011-09-28
Published in Print: 2011

© School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, 2011