Object positions

Nominals precede other verbal complements in English. This paper argues against accounts of this fact based on an adjacency requirement on Case assignment, and proposes instead that (1) main verbs in English move out of the VP they head, and (2) nominal complements are forced by the Case Filter to “Object Shift” either to Specifier of VP or to the Specifier of a functional projection that contains VP.

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This paper has benefitted from exposure to audiences at UT-Austin, UC-Irvine, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Université de Genève, Cornell University and Brandeis University, and from the participants of seminars at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Thanks are due also to Marcel den Dikken, Mürvet Enç, Teun Hoekstra, Osvaldo Jaeggli, Hilda Koopman, Mark Lencho, Anoop Mahajan, Elaine McNulty, Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, Dominique Sportiche, Sten Vikner and Dag Wold.

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Johnson, K. Object positions. Nat Lang Linguist Theory 9, 577–636 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00134751

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Keywords

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Object Position
  • Functional Projection
  • Case Assignment
  • Main Verb