Feature valuation by sideward movement

Bartosz Wiland (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań)

The paper provides a substantial reanalysis of sideward movement, originally proposed by Nunes (1995, 2001, 2004) and developed in Hornstein (2000). According to the Nunes/Hornstein analyses, out of two independent arrays, an adjunct is constructed prior to the matrix VP. The XP that was merged in the adjunct moves sideways through a CP-edge of the adjunct to the matrix VP in order to check its θ-role, formal φ-features and Case (FF) on a matrix probe, and copies are deleted under Lexical Correspondence Axiom (within a copy theory of movement). The original ("θ, φ, and Case") approach to sideward movement allows to account for a number of parasitic constructions as in (1), adjunct control constructions as in (2), relative clauses as in (3), or across-the-board constructions as in (4).

(1) Which book1 did you read t1 before Jack bought t1 ?

(2) Jack kissed Mary tPRO before kissing her sister.

(3) Which claim1 that Jack made t1 was he willing to discuss t1?

(4) Which article1 did Jack file t1 and Mary read t1 ?

If, as the Nunes/Hornstein analyses assume, XPs move sideways in order to value their θ-roles and FF, then a thematic XP (ideally, a DP or an NP) should bear a unanimous set of features {θ, φ, Case} to constitute a goal for a probe. However, in this way an XP that moves sideways would value its own θ-role on heads that assign different θ-roles. This would violate Maximize as well as Match (Chomsky 2001), as sideways movement into different thematic positions is available, as in, for instance, the AC construction in (5), or a benefactive construction as in (6).

(5) Peter[+Patient] lost a tooth even before tPRO[+Agent] opening the bottle of beer.

(6) Which girl1 did you send a picture of t1[+Patient] to t1[+Benefactive]?

The paper advocates the idea that sideward movement is an accessible operation for syntactic objects that have a full set of φ-features and Case to value. Inter-arboreal re-merge into thematic positions is applicable, but is only collateral. On this scenario, non-thematic XPs are legible candidates for sideward movement, which is analyzed in terms of inter arboreal re-merge.

Pseudo-parasitic gaps, i.e. apparent gaps that do not observe universal conditions on P-gap licensing, were analyzed by Postal (1994) as instances of extractions of that-clauses, produced by complex NP shift, right node raising, or parenthetical constructions. In the approach advocated here, pseudo-parasitic gaps are not traces of inter arboreal re-merge, as CPs (which receive θ-roles, but do not have a full set of φ-features) are illegitimate candidates for sideward movement. The argument uses, among others, discussion in Den Dikken (2001) who claims that null and weak pronouns never move at LF. I argue that CPs are in fact headed by null pronouns and consequently can only move overtly, never at LF. The evidence for the null pronominal character of CPs and their inability to raise at LF is based on the fact that CPs can substitute only weak pronouns, or that CP associates move overtly to matrix T in existential constructions while they resist LF raising in constructions with expletives, among others.

Donkey anaphora analyzed as an instance of sideward movement in Boeckx (2003) provides additional evidence for the inaccessibility of CPs to sideward operations.

Next, it is shown that ATB constructions do not involve inter arboreal re-merge of CPs (as it was presented in Nunes 2001, and Hornstein and Nunes 2002). The analysis uses the discussion in Citko (2005), among others.

The scenario of cyclic valuation of FFs that is advocated in the paper offers a new account of otherwise puzzling facts that show that in languages non-NP/DP parasitic gaps are possible. For example, Polish allows for adjectival parasitic gaps (as described for instance in Bondaruk 1996 within a different framework, example in 7 is hers) as Polish adjectives have a full set of φ-features (but lack θ).


Jak zły1


wydawał t1




był t1 ?

how angry-nom,sg,masc




at all



'How angry did he seem to be though he wasn't angry at all?'

Finally, the (apparent) clash between the overt nature of sideward movement and the impossibility of moving CPs sideways that do not move at LF but can move overtly is addressed. The discussion here uses some evidence from Bošković and Franks (2000) and single cycle syntax.


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