Verbal Fronting: Typology and Theory
Johannes Hein
May 2018

This thesis investigates the distribution of gap-avoidance strategies in V(P)-fronting constructions: Displacement of the main verb into the left periphery, either as a VP or a bare V, does not leave a gap, rather a language may require a copy of the displaced verb or a dummy verb to occur in the canonical verb position instead. If a language allows V- and VP-fronting, the gap-avoidance strategy is usually the same for both (as in Hebrew, Polish, German, Dutch, etc). The thesis presents new data from Asante Twi (Kwa, Niger-Congo) and Limbum (Grassfields Bantu) in which a verb copy appears in V-fronting but a dummy verb is inserted in VP-fronting. In a sample of 47 languages, the reverse pattern is not attested which is interpreted as a systematic typological gap. Another typological gap is shown to exist for languages that allow either V-fronting or VP-fronting but not both. The former always exhibit verb copying while the latter exclusively show dummy verb insertion. The thesis proposes a derivational analysis of this distribution that is framed in the Copy Theory of Movement. It is based on the idea that there is a language-specific order of application between copy deletion and head movement (which is assumed to be a PF operation) in the post-syntax which interacts with the type of syntactic movement in verbal fronting. Depending on the order and the type of movement there is either a bleeding or a counter-bleeding relation between copy deletion and head movement giving rise to dummy verb insertion and verb copying respectively.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004035
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: PhD thesis, Universit├Ąt Leipzig
keywords: verb doubling, v(p)-fronting, head movement, order of operations, a'-head movement, do-periphrase, do-support, syntax, copy deletion, copy theory, vp-topicalization, vp-focalization, syntax
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