On the grammar of extraction and coordination
Chaves, Rui P.
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This paper examines English unbounded dependency constructions and concludes that the syntactic mechanism responsible for extraction operates in the same way in all constructions, regardless of the structures being subordinate or coordinate. In other words, this work argues that there is a general and fully uniform mechanism behind the linkage of ‘gaps’ and their ‘fillers’ in the family of constructions that allow such unbounded dependencies. Crucially, this mechanism is devoid of exceptions, and interacts with other aspects outside the grammar of extraction to predict the Coordinate Structure Constraint, ATB extractions, parasitism, and at least certain islands. Although the underlying syntactic mechanism for extraction is argued to work in the same way for all constructions, certain parts of the grammar can locally impose additional conditions on the possible extraction patterns. Along with recent psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research, it is argued that many apparent exceptions result from independently motivated performance factors, also observed in garden-path sentences and center-embedded constructions.