Ian Roberts

Ian Roberts is Professor of Linguistics and Professorial Fellow at Downing College at the University of Cambridge.

  • The Final-Over-Final Condition

    The Final-Over-Final Condition

    A Syntactic Universal

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

    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 $90.00 £74.95
    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00
  • Agreement and Head Movement

    Agreement and Head Movement

    Clitics, Incorporation, and Defective Goals

    Ian Roberts

    An argument that, contrary to Chomsky, head-movement is part of the narrow syntax.

    In Agreement and Head Movement, Ian Roberts explores the consequences of Chomsky's conjecture that head-movement is not part of the narrow syntax, the computational system that relates the lexicon to the interfaces. Unlike other treatments of the subject that discard the concept entirely, Roberts's monograph retains the core intuition behind head-movement and examines to what extent it can be reformulated and rethought. Roberts argues that the current conception of syntax must accommodate a species of head-movement, although this operation differs somewhat in technical detail and in empirical coverage from earlier understandings of it. He proposes that head-movement is part of the narrow syntax and that it applies where the goal of an Agree relation is defective, in a sense that he defines.

    Roberts argues that the theoretical status of head-movement is very similar—in fact identical in various ways—to that of XP-movement. Thus head-movement, like XP-movement, should be regarded as part of narrow syntax exactly to the extent that XP-movement should be. If one aspect of minimalist theorizing is to eliminate unnecessary distinctions, then Roberts's argument can be seen as eliminating the distinction between "heads" and "phrases" in relation to internal merge (and therefore reducing the distinctions currently made between internal and external merge).

    Linguistic Inquiry Monographs 59

    • Hardcover $13.75 £10.99
    • Paperback $19.75 £14.99