The Spec-head vs head-Spec Asymmetry: Post-syntactic linearization and the embedded-topicalization paradox

  • Mark de Vos Department of English Language and Linguistics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown
Keywords: specifier, head, headedness parameter, LCA, linearization


This paper is a preliminary exploration of how English specifiers and heads are linearized at the PF interface. In particular, it argues that linearization may reflect underlying grammatical relationships of agreement and selection.   To evaluate this proposal, it uses the theoretical lens of relational theory and empirically, topicalization constructions in English which have somewhat paradoxical properties with respect to the perceived relative positioning of the head and specifier of TopP.  These paradoxes can be explained by the linearization proposal in this paper.  However, before accepting the proposed solution it is necessary to ensure that the proposal can be consistently applied to other spec-head relationships in English; the paper therefore includes a discussion of double object constructions as well as the relative spec-head orders of CP, TP, vP, VP and PP.


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