Extraposition in English and Spanish: A comparative study
Alves Castro, María Angeles
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This thesis focuses on EX from DP, a construction in which a PP or clausal modifier appears separate from the head noun it modifies, typically in sentence-final position.This construction incarnates one of the long-standing puzzles of linguistic theory: discontinuity. The present study tries to find answers to questions concerning the motivation of EX, and its syntactic derivation in a minimalist setting. The construction is approached from a perspective which is different from that adopted in previous work and innovative in two fundamental respects. First, the focus is on the interaction of EX with other syntactic phenomena. Second, two languages are studied in parallel: English and Spanish. This aspect of the dissertation is important because EX in Spanish is recurrently absent from the syntactic discussion.Adopting an analysis of EX in terms of rightward movement, the first part of the discussion centers on the interaction of this operation with topicalization, focalization (including wh-movement) and subject raising. The aim pursued in this part is two-fold: (i) to determine the syntactic contexts in which EX can apply and (ii) to identify the trigger of the operation (in particular, the role played by focus). The discussion then turns to the interaction of EX with five ellipsis phenomena: VP-Ellipsis, pseudogapping, gapping, stripping and sluicing. This part is aimed at finding information concerning the hierarchical position of the extraposed constituent. Given the role played by focus in most of the ellipsis constructions just enumerated, interesting information is also gathered concerning the motivation of EX. Some of the results obtained from the discussion in this dissertation are (i) that EX is restricted to the vP/VP domain, contrary to what standard accounts maintain; (ii) that EX cannot be triggered by a focus feature in the general case; and that EX in Spanish is not only productive but also very similar to EX in English.