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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: March 2020

Chapter 19 - Unbounded Dependency Constructions in Germanic

from Part III - Syntax


Unbounded Dependency Constructions in Germanic are a particular fruitful area for the exploration of the nature of A’-movement because this language family shows an intriguing array of options to form such dependencies. In this survey, I will first introduce the major functions of canonical unbounded dependencies involving a filler-gap dependency (wh-movement, topicalization, relativization), focusing on their shared properties (sensitivity to locality, successive-cyclic movement) and differences (shape of the left periphery, presence/absence of subject-verb inversion, nature of the landing site) both within individual languages and cross-linguistically. After addressing asymmetries between local and long-distance dependencies, I discuss alternatives to canonical long-distance movement such as extraction from verb second clauses (which is sometimes treated as involving a parenthetical), scope marking / partial movement, wh-copying and A’-dependencies that terminate in a pronoun rather than a gap (resumption, prolepsis). In the last part I provide an overview of locality-related issues that are particularly striking in this language family such as the clause-boundedness of A’-movement in German, the variable strength of topic and wh-islands, the (putative) absence of strong island effects in Scandinavian, and variation in that-trace effects.

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