Theresa Biberauer

Theresa Biberauer is Principal Research Associate in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge and Professor in the Department of General Linguistics at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

  • 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.

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