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Norvin Richards: “Generalized Contiguity”

March 11, 2011 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm  |  Stevenson Fireside Lounge


In Richards (2010) I posited a universal condition on the prosody of wh-questions, which was intended to predict whether a given language would move its wh-phrases or leave them in situ.  The condition requires a wh-phrase to be in the same prosodic domain as the interrogative complementizer which Agrees with it.  Whether a language has to move its wh-phrases then depends on how its prosody is organized.  Some languages can leave wh-phrases in situ and manipulate the prosody of the sentence to satisfy the prosodic requirement; others cannot do this, and must move the wh-phrase to make it sufficiently prosodically close to C.

In this talk I will generalize the prosodic requirement I posited for the relation between C and wh-phrases, applying it to all pairs of syntactic objects that are related either by Agree or by selection.  Data handled by the resulting theory include a variety of facts about the placement of adverbs in languages like English and French (traditionally accounted for via claims about the structural height of verbs), the Final-over-Final Constraint of Biberauer et al (2010), and the requirement that clauses with English quotative inversion cannot have auxiliaries.

Norvin Richards, Professor of Linguistics at MIT, will give this talk as part of the CrISP Distinguished Visitors Series.


March 11, 2011
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Stevenson Fireside Lounge
Humanites 1 University of California, Santa Cruz Cowell College
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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