By Andries W. Coetzee
Jan 27, 2013
A paper by graduate student Tim Chou recently appeared in Lingua. In this paper, Tim takes on some of the core issues (and some of the main players!) in current syntactic theory. Based on so-called "raising modal constructions" in Chinese, he argues for a new conceptualization of A-movement. The full bibliographic information, including an abstract, appears below.
Chou, Chao-Ting Tim. 2013. Unvalued interpretable features and topic A-movement in Chinese raising modal constructions. Lingua, 123:118-147.
The purpose of this paper is three-fold: (i) I argue that topic A-movement exists in Chinese. Specifically, I show that argument displacement in Chinese raising modal constructions (RMC) containing raising modals like yinggai ‘should’ and keneng ‘likely’ is Amovement to spec-TP, yet semantically exhibits topicality; (ii) even though Miyagawa’s (2010) extension of Chomsky’s (2007, 2008) feature inheritance hypothesis to the Topic feature provides a possible derivational system to capture topic A-movement in this construction, I show that object topic A-movement in this construction is underivable under Miyagawa’s (2010) probe-driven system of movement based on feature inheritance. This is because of a timing problem regarding feature inheritance and Chomsky’s (2001) Phase-Impenetrability Condition independently noted by Epstein et al. (2012) and Richards (2011); (iii) I propose that two major modifications are needed to maintain the basic assumptions of Miyagawa (2010) to derive object topic A-movement in RMC: (a) a more fine-grained characterization of topic A-movement on the basis of the dissociation of feature interpretability and feature valuation (see Pesetsky andTorrego, 2007; Carstens, 2010, 2011; Boskovic, in press), and (b) the adoption of Boskovic’s (2007) moving-element-driven theory of movement.