Publication
Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
Paper

Why Irish raising is not anomalous

View publication

Abstract

M (1984) documents persuasively the existence of Irish raising constructions which, viewed from an ordinary constituent structure or transformational perspective, seem unique and bizarre and which, viewed from certain particular theoretical perspective, e.g., that of the Government-Binding framework, seem anomalous. The present remarks have aimed to show that viewed in relational terms, Irish raising constructions can unproblematically be taken to manifest a type of raising identical to that of better known languages like English and French. The relevant differences between Irish and English or between Irish and French have to do in these terms not with raising per se but with the interaction of the raising structure with other logically independent grammatical phenomena. In particular, it has been suggested that Irish raising structures manifest the same sort of dummy structure found in French examples like (18b), as represented in (19), with the chief difference being that the dummy arc determines that the earlier 2 demotes to 3 in Irish, rather than to 8, as in French. Finally, the relevant dummy 1 arcs in Irish self-erase, so that the Irish construction contains no phonologically visible dummies, while those in French in general do not and manifest as il. Looked at in these terms, the apparently unique Irish raising phenomenon is a combination of independently recognized elements. From the APG perspective, Irish raising constructions satisfy all relevant relational grammatical principles, e.g., the Relational Succession Law, the Final 1 Arc Law, the Stratal Uniqueness Law, the Demotion Ban, the Ghost Arc Law, and other conditions on arcs whose heads are dummy nominals; for the latter, see Johnson and Postal (1980, Chapter 9). Hence, while relatively superficial assumptions suggest that Irish raising requires broadening the class of phenomena allowed by grammatical theory (to permit raising to object of a preposition), internal to the relational framework sketched here, Irish raising fits into the narrowest constraints on natural language grammatical structure independently permitted by what (little) is so far known about languages other than Irish. This provides an argument for adopting the sort of perspective capable of reducing the apparent anomaly to the interaction of independently known grammatical features.A good deal of the force of the argument depends, however, on providing a similar analysis of the Modern Greek case mentioned in footnote 1. Unless some way can be found to reduce the apparent raising of 1s to object of a preposition in Greek to more widely documented phenomena, there is little reason to reject the idea that Irish might manifest such raising. Unfortunately, an analysis of the Greek situation reducing it to better-known structural features seems far less apparent than was the case for Irish and no one seems to have even tried to develop such an account to this point. © 1986 D. Reidel Publishing Company.

Date

01 Aug 1986

Publication

Natural Language and Linguistic Theory

Authors

Share