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Syntactic and Phonological Verb Movement

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This paper defends the essentially syntactic nature of head movement, contra Chomsky (1999:30f). Head movement yields effects of word order that do not find a natural place in phonology, defined as the conversion of syntactic terminals to strings of phonemes. It also feeds syntactic processes such as NP‐raising in restructuring constructions. The only “phonological” aspect to head movement involves the fluctuating spell‐out positions of the verb. It is argued that these fluctuations, illustrated in the Continental West Germanic verb movement patterns, result from the interaction of formal feature movement (“syntactic verb movement”) and lexical feature movement (“phonological verb movement”), the latter restricted to situations where the target of formal feature movement lacks lexical features of its own.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: University of Groningen

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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