Linear Precedence In Discontinuous Constituents: Complex Fronting In German


Uszkoreit, H. (1987). Linear precedence in discontinuous constituents: Complex fronting in German. In Discontinuous constituency (pp. 405-425). Brill.


Syntactic processes that have been identified as sources of discontinuous constituents exhibit radically different properties. They seem to fall into several classes: leftward “extraction,” right-ward “movements,” “scrambling” phenomena, and parenthetical insertions. Current linguistic theories differ as to the formal tools they employ both for describing the participating syntactic phenomena and for encoding the resulting representations.

In this paper, the general problem of determining the linear order in the discontinuous parts of a constituent is discussed. The focus lies on frameworks that use their feature mechanisms for connecting the noncontiguous elements. It is then shown that the current framework of Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar (GPSG) is not suited for describing the interaction of leftward extractions, scrambling, and constraints on linear order. The relevant data come from German fronting. Previous analyses (Johnson 1983; Nerbonne 1984; Uszkoreit 1982; 1984) have neglected certain types of fronting or failed to integrate their account of fronting properly with an analysis of linear precedence.

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