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Raising and lowering movement

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This article looks at the recent approaches taken vis-à-vis the sentence structure of English and French. It looks at the different movements operating at D-structure and the possible reasons that lead to the verb in French raising to T and the English verb remaining in [spec, VP] triggering the lowering of T. These movements, we explain convincingly we hope, by arguing that they are triggered by AGR. In French AGR is strong and allows verb movements from V to T and to C. In English, on the other hand, AGR is weak and as a result, the verb remains unable to raise to T. This inability to move leads to the lowering of T to V level for support. This reasoning is backed up by evidence which demonstrates that English AGR weakness is observed in its reliance on the ‘do-support’ for its interrogatives. Further evidence is also supplied through the study of modal and auxiliary verbs.

Keywords: Affix-lowering; Agreement Phrase; Do-support; Specifier; Split Inflection Hypothesis; Subj-Aux Inversion; Tense Phrase; Universal Grammar; V-movement; Verb-raising

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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