Movement from the double object construction is not fully symmetrical

Holmberg, Anders and Sheehan, Michelle and van der Wal, Jenneke (2019) Movement from the double object construction is not fully symmetrical. Linguistic Inquiry, 50 (4). pp. 677-722. ISSN 1530-9150

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A movement asymmetry arises in some languages that are otherwise symmetrical for both A- and A-bar movement in the double object construction (DOC), including Norwegian, North-West British English, and a range of Bantu languages including Zulu and Lubukusu: a Theme object can be A-bar-moved out of a Recipient (Goal) passive, but not vice versa. Our explanation of this asymmetry is based on phase theory, more specifically a stricter version of the Phase Interpretability Condition proposed by Chomsky (2001). The effect is that, in a Theme passive, a Recipient object destined for the C-domain gets trapped within the lower V-related phase by movement of the Theme. The same effect is observed in Italian, a language in which only Theme passives are possible. Moreover, a similar effect is also found in some Bantu languages in connection with object marking/agreement: object agreement with the Theme in a Recipient passive is possible, but not vice versa. We show that this, too, can be understood within the theory that we articulate.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: This is the author’s final version, and this article has been accepted for publication in Linguistic Inquiry.
Keywords: passive, A-bar movement, phase theory, double object construction, symmetry
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Michelle Sheehan
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2018 14:00
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:55

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