Adger 1997

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Notes: Adger (1997) VSO Order and Weak Pronouns in Goidelic Celtic. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 42(1-2): 9-29

• This article looks at (1) adverbial adjacency effects and (2) weak pronoun placement.

• Adger looks to morphophonological and prosodic characteristics to explain the phenomena

1. Adjacency and Pronoun Placement in Goidelic Celtic

• PRONOUNS : Finite clauses are almost always VSO, but when the object is a non-contrastive pronoun (only in embedded clauses?), it surfaces at the right periphery of the clause. (1a-b for examples in MI) o This article aims to explain this behavior with universals rather than language specific rules (1) a) Deir sí gu-r bhrís sé an doras leis an ord aréir says she that-PAST broke he the door with a hammer last-night ‘She says that he broke the door with a hammer last night.’

b) Deir sí gu-r bhrís sé leis an ord aréir í says she that-PAST broke he with a hammer last-night it ‘She says that he broke it with a hammer last night.’

• ADJACENCY : It is impossible to separate C from V, V from S, and S from O using adverbials (2) o However, it is possible to split the S from the O, but not the V from the S • under Case assignment via ECM and adjacency, this makes sense, • but under MP, this is not a valid argument, since there may be no conditions on S-Structure and there is no government


  • … go ar ndóigh bhfaca Máire an fear

… that of course saw Mary the man ‘… that Mary, of course, saw the man.’

2. The Preposed TP Analysis of VSO

Duffield (1995)

(i) C hosts the complementizer, which may lower at PF (McCloskey 1993) (ii) [Spec, WP] hosts the fronted TP projection which contains a tense morpheme in T, and below T an Agr projection whose head hosts the finite V (iii) The subject is in situ in an outer shell of VP, while the object has been preposed into the [Spec, AspP] position which intervenes between the outer and inner VP shell (iv) W hosts the weak object pronoun, which has raised from [Spec,AspP]

EVIDENCE FOR: • V does not raise to C in Irish o No root-embedded asymmetries in Irish o IP adverbials adjoin to C • Adjacency data from section (1) above

EVIDENCE AGAINST: • The claim does not seem to be compatible with the claim that the TP fronting operation must target the adjoined TP • Upon inspection, it seems that no evidence from adverbial placement favors the TP fronting approach.

3. An Alternative Proposal • This new proposal attributes the facts of adjacency effects and weak pronoun placement to the manner in which syntax interfaces with the morphophonological and prosodic properties of the languages concerned

3.1. Adjacency • There is a stage between Spell-Out and PF which is termed the ‘morphological component’ in Adger 1996b. This level protects the features of the Ns or Ds and thus allows the derivation to converge. 3.2. Weak pronoun placement is prosodically motivated 3.2.1. Pronoun shift as base generation 3.2.2. The scrambling of weak pronouns in Dutch and Goidelic 3.2.3. Phrase structure and stress placement in Goidelic 3.2.4. Consequences of the analysis for diachronic development 4. Some residual issues and conclusions