The Final-Over-Final Condition
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From Linguistic Inquiry Monographs

The Final-Over-Final Condition

A Syntactic Universal

By Michelle Sheehan, Theresa Biberauer, Ian Roberts and Anders Holmberg

Foreword by David Pesetsky

An examination of the evidence for and the theoretical implications of a universal word order constraint, with data from a wide range of languages.

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

An examination of the evidence for and the theoretical implications of a universal word order constraint, with data from a wide range of languages.

This book presents evidence for a universal word order constraint, the Final-over-Final Condition (FOFC), and discusses the theoretical implications of this phenomenon. FOFC is a syntactic condition that disallows structures where a head-initial phrase is contained in a head-final phrase in the same extended projection/domain. The authors argue that FOFC is a linguistic universal, not just a strong tendency, and not a constraint on processing. They discuss the effects of the universal in various domains, including the noun phrase, the adjective phrase, the verb phrase, and the clause. The book draws on data from a wide range of languages, including Hindi, Turkish, Basque, Finnish, Afrikaans, German, Hungarian, French, English, Italian, Romanian, Arabic, Hebrew, Mandarin, Pontic Greek, Bagirmi, Dholuo, and Thai.

FOFC, the authors argue, is important because it is the only known example of a word order asymmetry pertaining to the order of heads. As such, it has significant repercussions for theories connecting the narrow syntax to linear order.

Hardcover

Out of Print ISBN: 9780262036696 464 pp. | 9 in x 6 in 1 graph

Paperback

$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262534161 464 pp. | 9 in x 6 in 1 graph

Contributors

David Pesetsky.

Endorsements

  • I consider the discovery and development of the 'Final-Over-Final Condition' to be the most exciting advance in the study of word order in recent years—and therefore in the broader study of crosslinguistic variation. This volume is fascinating in the range of languages and constructions it draws on, the range of linguistic considerations it brings to bear on the issue, and—not least—in the different complementary perspectives that each of the authors brings to the topic. It will repay careful consideration on every level.

    Mark Baker

    Distinguished Professor, Linguistics and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University; author of The Syntax of Agreement and Concord

  • This book reminds us how much fun it is to do syntax. Such a combination of detailed analysis with serious architectural assessment should open the kind of discussion that makes our field young all over again.

    Juan Uriagereka

    Professor, University of Maryland; author of Spell-Out and the Minimalist Program and Syntactic Anchors