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Primitive C-Command

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Work in syntactic theory almost universally assumes that hierarchy in syntactic structure is characterized in terms of an abstract primitive relation of dominance. In this paper, we suggest that hierarchy should instead be determined via a primitive c-command relation. This perspective turns out to restrict the range of possible syntactic structures in a linguistically natural way, deriving restrictions on possible configurations that must otherwise be stipulated. Furthermore, we show that a primitive c-command view of syntactic structure provides the basis for a radically simplified conception of adjunction structure, one that not only allows us to understand why the adjunction operation exists alongside substitution, but also explains why these operations have their distinctive structural and derivational properties.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Johns Hopkins University, USA, 2: University of Delaware, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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