Syntax is Optimality-theoretic

Harmonic Minimalism - Cumulativity and Serialism in Syntax - Andrew Murphy

Andrew Murphy [+-]
University of Leipzig
Andrew Murphy is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leipzig where he obtained his PhD in linguistics in 2017.


This introductory chapter lays the groundwork for the rest of the book. It will present an overview and justification of the optimality-theoretic approach to syntax. The chapter proceeds by first introducing the basic premises of Optimality Theory and the notion of violable constraints and competition. Subsequently, some of the major arguments that have been forward in favour of phonology will be shown to also hold for syntax. Novel arguments for neutralization come from complementizer-trace effects and R-pronoun doubling in German (Hein & Barnickel 2018), conspiracies are shown to hold for the C-domain in German and Distinctness effects (Richards 2010). Additionally, arguments for Heterogeneity of Target/Homogeneity of Process (HoT/HoP effects) come from PCC effects and mirrors arguments for such effects in hiatus repairs in phonology. Finally, gradient repairs are found with wh-movement in Romanian, analogous to the classic analysis of infixation in Tagalog proposed by Prince & Smolensky (1993/2004). In putting forward the case of OT syntax, this chapter will hopefully be the first step to convincing the skeptical syntactician reader that an optimality-theoretic approach to syntax is indeed justified.

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Murphy, Andrew. Syntax is Optimality-theoretic. Harmonic Minimalism - Cumulativity and Serialism in Syntax. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Nov 2021. ISBN 9780000000000. Date accessed: 11 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40307. Nov 2021

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