Phases vs. Cyclic Linearization Spell-Out Domains: two perspectives on cyclicity

Andrew Simpson
(University of Southern California)

This talk considers two different Minimalist approaches to cyclicity, Chomsky’s phase-based approach (Chomsky 2000, 2005, Bošković 2014, 2016, among many others) , and Fox and Pesetsky’s Cyclic Linearization model (Fox and Pesetsky 2005, Ko 2007, 2014). The two different views of cyclicity in syntax will be presented and compared by means of two paradigms of phrasal movement which occur within nominal phrases, and the restrictions which affect such movement. The first part of the presentation will focus on the movement of NPs and AdjPs for definiteness- and focus-related reasons within noun phrases in Bangla, which supports a phase-based analysis (Simpson and Syed 2016). The second major part of the talk will examine the distribution of Possessor, Agent, and Theme arguments of nouns within nominal projections in Korean (An 2014, Bak 2006, Hong 2013, Simpson and Park, to appear). Constraints on the variable positioning of such elements are argued to be most naturally modelled by Fox and Pesetsky’s Cyclic Linearization/CL approach, and it’s principle of Order Preservation. It is then noted that very similar patterns are also found within Bangla nominals, raising the question of whether both phase-based and CL models are necessary, or whether all of the observed locality effects might be captured by a single cyclic approach. A potential answer to this complex question is provided by the addition of further, surprising data from Bangla, which provide support for a novel understanding of the ways that derivational constraints may generally apply to the incremental construction of syntactic units.