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  • Author or Editor: Timothy Osborne x
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Abstract

This paper considers the NP vs. DP debate from the perspective of dependency grammar (DG). The message is delivered that given DG assumptions about sentence structure, the traditional NP-analysis of nominal groups is preferable over the DP-analysis. The debate is also considered from the perspective of phrase structure grammar (PSG). While many of the issues discussed here do not directly support NP over DP given PSG assumptions, some do. More importantly, one has to accept the widespread presence of null determiner heads for the DP analysis to be plausible on PSG assumptions. The argument developed at length here is that the traditional NP-analysis of nominal groups is both more accurate and simpler than the DP-analysis, in part because it does not rely on the frequent occurrence of null determiners.

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A widely assumed limitation on the distribution of negative polarity items (NPIs) is that they must be c-commanded by a trigger. Scrutiny of this limitation reveals, however, that c-command by a trigger is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition on the distribution of NPIs. The failure of ccommand to serve as the basis for an account of the syntactic distribution of NPIs is taken here as the impetus to pursue an alternative approach, one in terms of scope and linear order instead of c-command. A particular concept of scope is established that serves as the key notion for characterizing the syntactic relationship between NPIs and their triggers. Scope is defined in a dependency grammar (DG) theory of syntax in terms of scope domains. The catena unit plays an important role. Given the notions of scope put forward, it is possible to discern two conditions on the syntactic distribution of NPIs.

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