The Syntactic Effect of Head Movement: Wh and Verb movement in Malayalam
This thesis takes the position that head movement is a narrow syntactic phenomenon that can affect locality constraints thereby forcing certain phrasal elements such as a phrase containing a Wh to undergo movement. The basic proposal explored in the thesis dates back to Chomsky (1986) where the movement of a verb is proposed to be able to affect and alter a barrier. This idea is translated into contemporary technical apparatus in the thesis to capture locality conditions, with Wh movement in Malayalam providing the necessary data to make a case for it. The two constructions studied in the thesis present a contrast in terms of the position of the Wh. While the verb-final construction does not allow a Wh any freedom of movement, the aanu construction demands obligatory movement of certain Wh phrases to the pre-auxiliary position. It is shown that the pivotal structural difference between the verb-final construction and the aanu construction pertains to verb movement. The verb undergoes V-to-C movement in a verb-final construction whereas the verb remains within the IP in an aanu construction. Following the Phase Impenetrability Condition (Chomsky 2001) coupled with the concept that head movement can extend barriers (Chomsky 1986), it is argued that the V-to-C movement in the verb-final construction results in extending the Phase domain up to the C level as opposed to the phase boundary instantiated by the low verb in an aanu construction. Thus, in a verb-final construction, the in-situ Wh is already within the purview of the licensing CINT and does not need to move. However, in an aanu construction, the low verb creates a Phase boundary between the CINT and the Wh, thereby rendering an in-situ Wh within the IP domain ungrammatical, forcing the Wh phrase to move to the C-domain. The thesis also shows that in the case of Malayalam, analysing Wh movement as a sub-case of Focus movement is problematic. In short, the thesis argues for verb movement, and shows that it has important syntactic manifestations.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
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