Flat structure, phrasal variability and VSO

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4 Scopus citations


Contra the prevailing Chomskyan view of Modern Irish VSO, where the order is derived via verb movement, this paper proposes that Lexical-Functional Grammar provides a more explanatory account using a flat, VP-less structure. Using evidence from complex copular predicates, this paper shows that the variability in category of the initial predicate is due to a categorial underspecification in the S phrase structure rule. Further, in order to account for the fact that both phrasal and head material can appear in this position, a new kind of variable is proposed that holds over bar level. Finally, the paper accounts for the outward appearance of VP-like constituents by appealing to the fact that the language uses verbal nouns, and it has an NP rule, but no VP rule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-31
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Celtic Linguistics
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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