Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Interclausal NEG Raising and the Scope of Negation (Collins and Postal 2017)

In this paper, we show that the syntactic analysis of one major type of NEG raising in Collins & Postal (2014) is inconsistent with the facts of negation scope revealed by Klima (1964) type tests for sentential negation. Two of the four original Klima tests plus three additional ones are discussed. We propose a novel alternative syntactic analysis, one also involving NEG raising, that is consistent with the relevant tests, as well as with all the principles of NEG raising and NEG deletion proposed in Collins & Postal (2014). We suggest, further, that the newer analysis permits a more uniform overall conception of the various cases of NEG Raising.

Interclausal NEG Raising and the Scope of Negation

Collins, Chris and Paul Postal. 2017. Interclausal NEG Raising and the Scope of Negation. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 2(1), 29.

Disentangling Two Distinct Notions of NEG Raising (Collins and Postal 2018)

In this paper we consider two analyses of NEG raising phenomena: a syntactic approach based on raising NEG, as recently advocated in Collins & Postal 2014, and a semantic/pragmatic approach based on the Excluded Middle Assumption; see Bartsch 1973. We show that neither approach alone is sufficient to account for all the relevant phenomena. Although the syntactic approach is needed to explain the distribution of strict NPIs and Horn clauses, the semantic/pragmatic approach is needed to explain certain inferences where syntactic NEG raising is blocked.

Disentangling Two Distinct Notions of NEG Raising

Collins, Chris and Paul Postal. 2018. Disentangling Two Distinct Notions of NEG Raising. Semantics and Pragmatics 11, 1-21.

Dispelling the Cloud of Unknowing (Collins and Postal 2018)

The argument in CP(2014) hinged on a claimed restriction on Horn clauses due originally to Horn (1975: 283; 1978: 169). The claim was that Horn clauses are limited to the complements of verbs independently permitting Classical NR, that is, complements of CNRPs. However, since the appearance of CP(2014), Horn (2014) has attested a new data class illustrating Horn clauses, but ones occurring in the complements of non-CNRP predicates. These include in particular a nonfactive use of the verb know, which Horn calls know-NF, a terminology we adopt. An example of the type at issue is given in (4):

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Home Sweet Home (Collins 2007)

The word “home” can be used as a directional or a (non-directional) locative, as shown in the following examples: (1) a. They went home. (directional) b. They stayed home. (locative) This paper will attempt to explain the following asymmetry between the overt realization of “to” and the overt realization of “at” with the word “home”: (4) a. I went (*to) home. b. I did my homework *(at) home. c. I stayed (at) home. The main theoretical conclusions of the paper are as follows. First, the condition governing the pronunciation of prepositions is a generalization of the Doubly-Filled Comp Filter, reformulated as an economy condition on Spell-Out. Second, I show that the notion of “light noun” as put forth in Kishimoto (2000) to account for the properties of expressions like “somebody” and “nothing”, also plays a role in the syntax of “home” and other locative expressions in English. Third, my paper makes a contribution to the growing literature on the internal structure of PPs (see Koopman 2000). In particular, I show that “from” should be analyzed as “from AT”, and that particles such as “in” should be analyzed as “AT/TO in”.

Home Sweet Home

Collins, Chris. 2007. Home Sweet Home. In Lisa Levinson and Oana Savescu-Ciucivara (eds.), NYU Working Papers in Linguistics 1. (

A Formalization of Minimalist Syntax (Collins and Stabler 2016)

The  goal  of  this paper is to give a precise, formal account of certain fundamental notions in minimalist  syntax. Particular attention is given to the comparison of token-based (multidominance) and chain-based  perspectives on Merge. After considering a version of Transfer that violates the No-Tampering Condition  (NTC), we sketch an alternative, NTC-compliant version.

A Formalization of Minimalist Syntax 

Collins, Chris and Edward Stabler. 2016. A Formalization of Minimalist Syntax. Syntax 19, 43-78.

Greek and English Passives, and the Role of by-Phrases (Angelopoulos, Collins and Terzi 2020)

This paper proposes an analysis in which passive by-phrases are merged as the arguments of the active with the corresponding theta roles (Hasegawa 1988; D’Hulst 1992; Mahajan 1994; Goodall 1997; 1999; Caha 2009; Collins 2018a; Roberts 2019; Karlík 2020 and Hallman 2020). The analysis finds support in new data from Greek and English showing that, just like the DP arguments of the active, by-phrases bear the same range of theta roles and can bind a non-logophoric reflexive. On the other hand, it is shown that PPs with non-argument theta-roles, that is, adjunct PPs, cannot. In light of these findings, the paper reaches a number of independent conclusions such as that VoiceP, the projection responsible for the distinct morphological realization of the different Voice phenomena, does not introduce the external argument (Collins 2005; Merchant 2013; Manzini et al. 2016; Ramchand 2017; Roberts 2019; Zyman & Kalivoda 2020; Newman 2020). Furthermore, in light of the new data presented here, the paper discusses reasons for which the following proposals cannot be maintained: that the Greek and English passive are formed in a different manner, or with different Voice heads (Alexiadou & Doron 2012 i.a.), that by-phrases are merged as adjuncts (Bruening 2013; Legate 2014; Alexiadou et al. 2015 i.a.) or that Greek by-phrases systematically exhibit distinct behavior from the corresponding DP arguments of the active (Alexiadou et al. 2015). Lastly, it is argued that the rules of semantic composition, if applied as in Heim & Kratzer (1998) and Bruening (2013), make available more ways in which arguments can be merged than those which are actually attested. The paper suggests that the rules in question must be constrained by independent principles, such as Chomsky’s (1981, 1986) Theta Criterion.

Green and English Passives, and the Role of by-Phrases

Angelopoulos, Nikos, Chris Collins and Arnonto Terzi. 2020. Greek and English Passives and the Role of by-Phrases. Glossa 5(1): 90, 1-29.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Gaps, Ghosts and Gapless Relatives (Collins and Radford 2015)

This paper looks at the syntax of so-called gapless relative clauses in spoken English. §1 contrasts gap relatives (like that italicized in ‘something which I said’, in which there is a gap internally within the relative clause associated with the relativized constituent) with gapless relatives (like that italicized in ‘They were clowning around, which I didn’t really care until I found out they had lost my file’, in which there is no apparent gap within the relative clause). In §2, we note that a number of recent analyses take which to function as a subordinating conjunction in gapless relatives, but we argue against this view and provide evidence that the wh-word in such clauses is indeed a relative pronoun. In §3, we argue that the relative pronoun in gapless relatives serves as the object of a ‘silent’ preposition. In  §4, we present an  analysis under which a preposition can be silent when it undergoes a type of  deletion operation called  Ghosting. §5  discusses  gapless relatives which have a Topic-Comment interpretation, and argues for an extended Ghosting analysis under which a TP containing a predicate of SAYING associated with the  ghosted  preposition is also ghosted. Our overall conclusion is that supposedly ‘gapless’ relatives are  more properly analyze as containing a gap created by relativization of the object of a ghosted preposition.

Gaps, Ghosts and Gapless Relatives

Collins, Chris and Andrew Radford. 2015. Gaps, Ghosts and Gapless Relatives in Spoken English. Studia Linguistica 69.2, 191-235.