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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an introduction to syntax from a generative perspective. Due to space constraints, the chapter zooms in on mainstream derivational (‘transformational’) approaches, essentially along the lines developed by Chomsky and many others. The chapter highlights the long-standing and constant ingredients of the mainstream theory, and it does so by emphasizing and illustrating the characteristic theory-driven deductive argumentation. After introducing and motivating hierarchical structure and the structural relation c-command, the chapter explores the concept of abstract structure by studying long-distance dependencies. In particular, it is shown how copies left by moved constituents play a role in interpretive processes. Furthermore, a case study of VP ellipsis provides arguments that although the ellipsis site is not associated with any overt material, it nevertheless has internal structure. In sum, the chapter seeks to illuminate the nature of the interplay between data and theory construction within generative approaches.

Keywords: abstract structure, argumentation, c-command, copies, derivational approach, ellipsis, hierarchy

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