, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 275-314,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

A linearization account of either … or constructions

Abstract

To account for the linear freedom of either in disjunction constructions, I expand upon the focus-based account of den Dikken (2006). Word order constraints, in contrast to movement rules or base-generation constraints, provide the mechanism for explaining the distributional data. I argue that all positional variability exhibited by either ultimately derives from a licensing construction that enables either to be shuffled about disjunct-internally, yet simultaneously prevents either from entering into linear precedence relations with disjunct-external constituents. Restrictions on the surface realization of either result from a linear precedence rule ordering either before the contrastive focus, language particular constraints on word order, and general constraints on coordinate ellipsis. Overall, this analysis presents an account of eitheror constructions that introduces only a single linear precedence rule and a licensing construction for combining either with disjunctions to account for the data, relying on independently-motivated constraints to carry the rest of the analytical burden.