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Backward Raising

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Abstract.  This paper documents and analyzes an instance of covert A‐movement, specifically covert subject‐to‐subject raising, in the Northwest Caucasian language Adyghe. We argue that Adyghe has a subject‐to‐subject raising construction in which the subject of an unaccusative verb’s complement clause undergoes A‐movement into the matrix clause, but it does so covertly. We refer to this phenomenon as backward raising. True backward raising is distinguished from apparent cases that have similar agreement patterns but do not show any of the other evidence for movement found in the Adyghe construction. We illustrate the contrast between true and apparent backward raising by comparing Adyghe to Greek. The existence of backward raising helps to adjudicate between various theories of covert movement. It supports a theory in which covert movement involves actual phrasal movement. Covert movement cannot be reduced to a long‐distance feature‐matching relation such as Agree (Chomsky 2000). Linguistic theory thus needs to incorporate both mechanisms.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Eric Potsdam University of Florida Linguistics Department P.O. Box 115454 Gainesville, FL 32611 USA 2: Maria Polinsky Harvard University Department of Linguistics Boylston Hall Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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