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Title: Information Structure and the Left Periphery in German
Authors: McNay, Anna
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Germanic Languages
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: University of Oxford
Abstract: Quantifier scope, and how the alternative readings of a sentence containing one or more quantifiers can be distinguished and derived, has been an area of great interest to linguists since the early 1970’s. The introduction to syntax of the level of LF (Logical Form), first really argued for in Chomsky’s 1976 work on weak crossover effects, and soon strengthened by May’s (1977) analysis of inversely linked quantification and scope, in which he proposed the rule of QR (Quantifier Raising), seemed to suggest that, at some level at least, word order plays a role in interpretation. In analogy to wh-movement, it has therefore seemed sensible to many (e.g. Hayashishita, 2000; Ionin, 2001; Marsden, 2003) to consider the phenomenon known as scrambling, namely apparently free, or variable, word order in languages such as German, Russian and Japanese, as an overt form of QR, when involving quantifiers moving to the left periphery. The problem with this, of course, is that not every instance of scrambling involves quantified elements or this landing site, so what can be the motivation in these cases, and is it really desirable to have different reasons in different instances?
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