Rightward movement phenomena in human language
The aim of my thesis is to show that some properties of rightward movement constructions (a cover term referring to sentences where an element appears to be “displaced” to the right) may be derived from syntactic principles and interface conditions within the framework of the minimalist program, and also to claim that properties which have up to now been dealt with purely in syntax receive a better account in terms of language processing. I develop a nonmovement approach to the Japanese Post-Verbal Construction (JPVC) by claiming that a postverbal phrase is adjoined to an element by External Merge, and that it is permitted as a syntactic object by a licensing condition which allows it to be construed as an argument or a modifier by interpretive rules at the interface level (SEM/LF). Many syntactic properties of the JPVC are accounted for in terms of independently motivated interface conditions and syntactic principles. I assume that the parser is a system that can make use of UG principles as well as language particular rules, and that the parser should be universal. The interaction of syntactic principles with parsing strategies makes it possible to cope with elusive problems concerning scope ambiguity as well as locality effects observed in the JPVC. This interaction may also account for the Right Roof Constraint effect displayed by the rightward movement constructions in English (i.e., Heavy "P Shift (H"PS), Extraposition from "P, and Right Dislocation). Furthermore, it predicts that languages fall into three types with respect to the possibility of the HNPS construction: (i) both subjects and objects can appear in postverbal position (e.g., Italian, Japanese, Turkish); (ii) subjects cannot do so (e.g., English); (iii) neither subjects nor objects can appear in postverbal position (e.g., Dutch, German). The claim that there is a parsing strategy relating to linear distance is supported by an experiment designed as a test for the effect of the length of intervening elements on acceptability of the JPVC, with the data obtained using Magnitude Estimation, a technique used in psychophysics to measure judgements of sensory stimuli.