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Lecture | LUCL Colloquium - Spring 2016

Cartography, Freezing, and “Further Explanation”

  • Luigi Rizzi
20 May 2016
LUCL Colloquium
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Cartography, Freezing, and “Further Explanation”

The Role of the Labeling Algorithm


After an illustration of some results of cartographic studies, with special reference to the left periphery of the clause, building on Rizzi & Cinque (2016), I will raise the issue of the “further explanation” of  cartographic properties: cartographic research uncovers certain general properties of the functional sequence, particularly ordering and co-occurrence constraints. Why do such properties hold? It is unlikely that Universal Grammar may contain primitive principles expressing them. They are more likely to follow from the interplay of fundamental principles applying at the interfaces with sound and meaning, or constraining formal syntactic operations (Abels 2010, Haegeman 2013, Rizzi 2013).

In the second part, I will illustrate the system of criteria, regulating movement and interface properties of cartographic representations. An important property of such positions is that when a phrase satisfies a criterion, it is frozen in place, and cannot undergo further movement. I will illustrate freezing effects arising in the complementizer system, in the high IP structure (with freezing of the subjects), and in the low IP structure with the unmovability of clause final focused subjects (Belletti 2004). The last point will lead to an analysis of inverse copular constructions (Moro 1997), which make freezing effects particularly visible.

In the third part, I will address the issue of whether freezing effects are amenable to a “further explanation”. A core ingredient is the labeling algorithm: I will assume, following Chomsky (2013, 2015), that labelling fundamentally is a matter of locality: structures created by merge receive the label of the closest head. In this conception, I will discuss the status of XP-YP criterial configurations with respect to the algorithm, and will propose a derivation of the freezing effects from labelling, in conjunction with a natural principle of maximality, restricting phrasal movement to maximal objects with a given label (Rizzi 2015a-b, 2016).

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