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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2009, Vol. 40, No. 2, Pages 239-276
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2009.40.2.239)
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ranking the Linear Correspondence Axiom
Article PDF (202.6 KB)

The overarching question addressed here is how syntactic structures based on constituency (dominance, c-command) are to be mapped onto linear phonetic strings. I argue that both prosodie principles and narrow-syntactic principles play a role in the linearization of syntactic structures. I take Kayne's (1994) Linear Correspondence Axiom as a starting point: (asymmetric) c-command maps onto precedence relations. Two wide-ranging predictions of Kayne's theory are that specifiers precede their heads and that a head can only have one specifier or adjunct. Although abundant evidence supports these predictions, there is nonetheless a well-known class of apparent counterexamples: Romance languages allow both rightward and multiple dislocations. I take the LCA to be a soft constraint, overruled by a constraint of the Wrap family that seeks to combine a verb and its extended projection in one intonational phrase. Apparent rightward movement is the outcome of rightward linearization forced by Wrap. The possibility of multiple dislocations is compatible with the LCA within the assumptions made here.