Rightward Movement in a Comparative Perspective

Workshop at the DGfS Meeting, February 27-29, 2008. Bamberg

DGfS 2008


Manfred Sailer Heike Walker Gert Webelhuth
msailer2[AT]uni-goettingen.de hwalker[AT]uni-goettingen.de webelhuth[AT]uni-goettingen.de

Goals and Background

Phenomena of Rightward Movement (e.g. Extraposition, Heavy-NP-Shift) still raise a lot of questions and problems in linguistic theory. The literature provides competing analyses in which the constituent that appears in non-canonical position is (1) base-generated and interpreted in situ, or it undergoes a movement process (2) in the syntactic component or (3) on the level of PF (Göbbel 2007). These theories make different predictions whether movement to the right is subject to syntactic, semantic and pragmatic restrictions at all (see the discussion in Büring and Hartmann 1997) and differ, partly extremely, with respect to the mechanisms they provide for the semantic interpretation of the dislocated constituent. Another controversial discussion concerns the cause of these movements: in addition to purely syntactic triggers, prosodic and psycholinguistic (e.g. Hawkins 1994) arguments are proposed (Gesetz der wachsenden Glieder, preferences in production and parsing, etc.). The goal of the workshop is to collect linguistic and psycholinguistic studies from different languages in order to cast light on the following questions.

The contributions to the workshop will address the following questions:

Can all phenomena of rightward movement be described as a uniform cross-linguistic type of construction that is subject to universal restrictions and which contrasts systematically with the type of leftward movement? Does each rightward movement process need a trigger and what are possible triggers? Why does rightward movement often correlate with the complexity of the moved constituent and are the criteria for complexity the same across languages? In which grammatical component does movement take place? Can a prosodic or psycholinguistic trigger induce movements in the syntactic component? What is the status of the moved constituent with respect to the semantic integration and the discourse? Does word order in the sentence influence the possibility and the characteristics of rightward movement?

Selected references

Büring, D. and K. Hartmann. 1997. "Doing the Right Thing." The Linguistic Review 14, 1-42.
Göbbel, E. 2007. "Extraposition as PF Movement." WECOL 2006.
Hawkins, J. A. 1994. A Performance Theory of Order and Constituency. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Workshop organizers

Last modified: Tue Sep 18 20:36:44 PDT 2007