|Title:||Word Order and Constraint Interaction|
|Abstract:||Word Order and Constraint Interaction
Joao Costa (HIL/Leiden University)
This paper presents an optimality-theoretic approach to word order facts
in Portuguese, English, Dutch and Icelandic. It is shown that there is
a tension between the syntactic constraint CASE, that requires arguments
to move, and the discourse-related constraint ALIGNFOCUS, that requires
arguments to stay in their base-position (or at the right edge of the
sentence), where sentence nuclear stress is assigned (Grimshaw and
The interaction between these two constraints will derive the patterns
found for Portuguese (where discourse-configurationality appears as a
product of ALIGNFOCUS dominating CASE) and for English (where the rigid
word order is a product of the top-ranking of CASE).
The similar behavior of PPs across languages is taken as the control
test, showing that discourse-configurationality is also present in
English. The difference between object-shift and scrambling (A- and
A-bar movement of objects) is derived as a consequence of the inter-
action between CASE and STAY, and the principle of phrase structure
projection developed within OT-syntax.
Finally, it is shown that the OT-analysis accounts for the fact that in
sentence-focus cases the unmarked word-order of each language arises.