Word order and scope: Transparent interfaces and the 3/4 signature
Jonathan Bobaljik, Susi Wurmbrand
July 2011

In this paper, we argue for three inter-related conclusions: i. There exist 'soft' constraints (economy conditions) that value a particular type of correspondence between LF and PF representations (for example, scope at LF matched by precedence at PF). ii. These constraints are uni-directional: LF (broadly construed) is calculated first, and determines PF (surface word order). iii. Scope rigidity (the apparent absence of QR) is not a property of languages, but of specific configurations, and the distribution of rigidity effects is (largely) predictable from independent variation in the syntactic resources of various languages (e.g., possibilities for scrambling). Conclusion (i) has been suggested often in the literature under a variety of names. It is in concert with assumption (ii) that we part ways with much of the existing literature. We argue that this combination of assumptions yields a 'signature effect', which we call the 3/4 signature. Taking one LF property (A scopes over or under B) and one PF property (A precedes or follows B), what we frequently find is that three of the four logical combinations are grammatical. We argue that this is precisely as expected, given the logic of the interaction of soft constraints under the general architecture envisaged here. Throughout the paper, we will largely focus on demonstrating that our proposals seem able to unify a range of seemingly disparate phenomena in the economy literature, and in at least some cases, appear to provide a more parsimonious account than standard models in which LF and PF are derived in parallel, or in which PF is determined prior to LF.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/000723
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Linguistic Inquiry
keywords: economy, scope, topic/focus, scrambling, lf:pf interface, constraint interaction, syntax
previous versions: v1 [July 2008]
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