Probes and Their Horizons

From Linguistic Inquiry Monographs

Probes and Their Horizons

By Stefan Keine

A comprehensive theory of selective opacity effects—configurations in which syntactic domains are opaque to some processes but transparent to others—within a Minimalist framework.

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Summary

A comprehensive theory of selective opacity effects—configurations in which syntactic domains are opaque to some processes but transparent to others—within a Minimalist framework.

In this book, Stefan Keine investigates in detail “selective opacity”— configurations in which syntactic domains are opaque to some processes but transparent to others—and develops a comprehensive theory of these syntactic configurations within a contemporary Minimalist framework. Although such configurations have traditionally been analyzed in terms of restrictions on possible sequences of movement steps, Keine finds that analogous restrictions govern long-distance dependencies that do not involve movement. He argues that the phenomenon is more widespread and abstract than previously assumed. He proposes a new approach to such effects, according to which probes that initiate the operation Agree are subject to “horizons,” which terminate their searches.

Selective opacity effects raise important questions about the nature of locality in natural language, the representation of movement-type asymmetries, correlations between clause structure and locality, and possible interactions between syntactic dependencies. With a focus on in-depth case studies of Hindi-Urdu and German, Keine offers detailed investigations of movement dependencies, long-distance agreement, wh-dependencies, the A/A' distinction, restructuring, freezing effects, successive cyclicity, and phase theory. Keine's account offers a thorough understanding of selective opacity and the systematic overarching generalizations to which it is subject.

Hardcover

$110.00 X | £90.00 ISBN: 9780262043618 380 pp. | 6 in x 9 in

Paperback

$55.00 X | £45.00 ISBN: 9780262538275 380 pp. | 6 in x 9 in

Endorsements

  • Probes and Their Horizons is a comprehensive and sophisticated treatise of selective opacity in syntax. The monograph brings together a wide range of challenging phenomena, which Keine elegantly subsumes under a novel concept of locality—horizons. Empirically rich and theoretically profound, the monograph is classic syntactic theorizing at its best.”

    Susanne Wurmbrand

    Privatdozentin, Universität Wien

  • “Keine proposes that syntactic probes limit their search capacity, and shows how this idea unifies the analysis of a range of locality phenomena. The book is compellingly argued and bubbling with interesting ideas. The theoretical execution is meticulous and has exciting consequences for locality theory. A must-read for syntacticians.”

    David Adger

    Professor of Linguistics, Queen Mary University of London; author of Language Unlimited and A Syntax of Substance