David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (2):181 - 229 (1993)
We have demonstrated in this study that the island phenomena exhibited in Korean complex constructions, such as they are, follow from the strict application of the Argument Condition to the semantic interpretations of those constructions — and not from formal restrictions on the location of the antecedents of gaps. The AC was shown to entail a kind of subjaceny restriction, although it is immaterial to the AC whether a particular gap is locally bound in a clause as long as the head or topic of the clause can find another element of the appropriate type in the proper position in that clause. Long-distance dependencies may then be sanctioned simply by default.An important assumption of this study is that the AC is a language-specific condition that characterizes the way semantic rules apply to the particular structures produced by the syntactic rules of the Korean grammar; hence, we would not necessarily expect to find an identical condition in languages with markedly different syntaxes. For example, English does not admit Multiple Subject Constructions, and thus, whatever restrictions it places on the distribution of gaps, there can be no English equivalent of the B-clause of the AC. But, as we've seen, that clause is crucial in licensing long-distance dependencies in relatives and topic complements in Korean. If this is correct — and the evidence appears quite persuasive that it is — then the chief difference between Korean and English with respect to whether CNPC violations are tolerated consequently resides not in the typology of gaps in the syntactic structures produced by the two grammars, but rather in the possibility of forming such structures without gaps
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