Head Movement as Feature Geometry Growth
Michael Barrie
October 2017

Head Movement (HM) is problematic in a number of ways. In this paper, I concentrate on the fact that HM is unformulable in Bare Phrase Structure (BPS). Rather than propose novel mechansims or complicate the notion of Merge, I propose that HM be rethought of as Feature Geometry growth. Taking seriously the idea that syntactic heads are merely feature bundles organized into a geometry, I propose that these feature bundles can merge, forming larger feature geometries. The feature geometry thus formed must be consistent with the overall feature geometry of the language in question. Just as intervening features in a Feature Geometry cannot be missing, HM cannot skip intervening heads, thus deriving the Head Movement Constraint. This theory of HM is illustrated in depth with negation in English, resolving some thorny issues left unsettled under the traditional theory of HM. Some tentative remarks are made regarding noun incorporation and Long Head Movement. The paper concludes with a discussion of the advantages of the proposed theory of the traditional theory of HM and with some unresolved issues.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003692
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Studies in Generative Grammar. 27(4): 779-810
keywords: head movement, english negation, feature geometry, syntax
previous versions: v1 [October 2017]
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