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Two Heads Aren’t Always Better Than One

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We propose a novel theory of verb raising in which different surface positions of the finite verb across languages reflect differences in phrase structure in a principled manner. Assuming that the inventory of functional projections dominating VP is not universal (e.g., the presence of Agr-Phrases is a point of parametric variation) current assumptions about locality predict obligatory verb raising in a language with Agr-Phrases, but obligatory V in situ in a simple IP-VP configuration. We predict a correlation with other morpho-syntactic phenomena reflecting the presence/absence of AgrPs: “extra” subject and object positions, transitive expletive constructions, multiple infelectional affixes, etc. This prediction is borne out for the VO Germanic languages; for the OV languages we predict the existence of head-final Infl projections.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Societ of Fellows: Harvard University, 78 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge MA 02138, USA, 2: Department of Icelandic, University of Iceland, Árnagarði v. Suðurgötu, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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