Q: Natural Languages's only Functional Head
Joseph Emonds
January 2013

Current versions of Chomskian syntax take for granted that maximal or “extended” projections of the fundamental lexical categories N, A, P and V contain elaborate systems of functional heads and projections, which also differ in nature for each of these systems. This paper begins an argument, to be developed elsewhere, that this current approach is more than “taken to extremes”; rather it is fundamentally misguided. All functional modifiers truly independent of a lexical category are types of quantifying/ counting, written Q. In particular, a lexical phrase NP (in plural-marking languages) is extended by a head for numerals QN to NPQ (not by D, which is a SPEC). Since As and Ps can’t be counted, their QA and QP can indicate only degree, supplemented by optional measure phrase NPs in their SPEC. The QV extension of VP is familiarly known as I or T, but formally its role is I claim to count, through agreement with “subject” NPs in its SPEC, the simultaneous events predicated of this subject. Modals, tense, etc. are lexical extensions of QV that specify how to compute “simultaneous.”
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003577
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Major Trends in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics: Selected Papers from the 20th Annual Symposium on Theoretical and Appl;ied Linguististics. N. Lavidas, T. Alexiou and A.-M. Sougari (eds.), Versita Ltd, London. 19-46
keywords: syntax
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