Second Position Phenomena in Alignment Syntax Anti-Alignments

Second Position Phenomena in Alignment Syntax Anti-Alignments

Second position phenomena in Alignment Syntax – Anti-alignments

1 we have seen that through the notion of a domain we can account for first and last positioning of an element

xPDy and xFDy

2 second position phenomena must therefore involve an element always losing out to another element for the first position

if it can’t be in first position, then it will be in second

3 The question is, what makes the second position element loose?

there would have to be a higher ranked constraint that prevents the second position element from being first

this might be a constraint which targets some other element (subject, wh-element, etc) and requires this to be first

but then we might expect the opposite to occur in other languages

i.e. the finite verb preceding a ‘fronted’ element
as far as I know, this never happens

also, how do we get the constraint only to operate in the presence of certain elements?

i.e. English doesn’t generally require the finite verb to be at the front of any particular domain
it is only when there is a fronted wh-element that the verb must be second

alternatively, the relevant constraint might target the second position element itself

directly requiring that it not be first

this seems to involve an anti-alignment condition

rather than requiring a target to be placed in such and such a position with respect to the host, it requires the target not to be in such and such position with respect to the host

4 Anti-alignments

we can always account for an observation in which X never precedes Y through a constraint yPx or xFy.

so observations of this kind do not support the existence of anti-alignment conditions

however, it is not always possible to straightforwardly account for observations that X and Y should not be adjacent

e.g. two determiners should never be adjacent

a hen’s egg
an egg of a hen
which indefinite is marked by the determiner and which is not?
a hen’s eggs
the eggs of a hen
here the determiner belongs to the possessor
the hen’s egg
the egg of a hen
an egg of the hen
as both these interpretations are ok, it seems that the determiner can belong to either noun
but if this is so why can’t we have
a the hen’s egg
a a hen’s egg
a the hen’s egg
the the hen’s egg
in Hungarian, the effect is even more obvious
az ö háza(determiner definitely with the possessed noun - * az ö)
az ember háza(determiner definitely with possessor noung - * ember)
* az az ember haza
az embérnek a háza
Because the effect is that one determiner must delete, it would be difficult to account for this in terms of a higher ranking constraint concerning some other element

e.g. the complementiser cannot be adjacent to the finite verb (that-trace)

* who do you think that saw Bill

who do you think that Bill saw

Again, as the phenomena involves the displacement of one element to a position it would not otherwise occupy, it is difficult to account for why the complementiser cannot appear here in terms of something else wanting to be next to the finite verb

In such cases an anti-alignment constraint might make analyses easier

5 Anti-alignments with respect to domains

we have seen that x*Py is equivalent to yPx or xFy

but this is not the same when the host is a domain

x*PDy is not the same as xFDy

the first says that x cannot be first, the second says that x must be last
these are not the same condition

therefore domain based anti-alignments cannot be replicated with positive alignment conditions

6 second and second to last phenomena

we can achieve the desired results with the following ranking

x*PD > xPDi.e X can’

x*FD > xFD

7 English

the English verb appears in the second position of the argument domain

recall that the argument domain is ordered by a set of constraints

arg1PDarg > arg2PDarg ...

we then introduce the constraints

v*PDarg > vPDarg

note that this will not affect the working of the constraints relevant for ordering the arguments as the verb is not a member of the argument domain – this does not prevent it from being positioned with respect to this domain, however.

a1PD / a2PD / a3PD / v*PD / vPD
3 v 2 1 / **! / * / *
3 v 1 2 / *! / ** / *
2 v 1 3 / *! / ** / *
2 v 3 1 / **! / * / *
1 v 3 2 / **! / * / *
1 v 2 3 / * / ** / *
v 1 2 3 / * / ** / *!
1 2 v 3 / * / ** / **!
1 2 3 v / * / ** / ***!

For this reason, the verb will still be in second position in the domain even if there are adverbial elements between it and the first argument

so the standard assumption that English SVO word order is not second position phenomena can be discarded

the verb appears in the second to last position of the Inflection domain

the inflection domain is organised

tense > perf > prog > pass

this can be achieved through the appropriate ranking of inflection domain constraints

we add the following:

v*FD > vFD

/

tPD

/

pPD

/

gPD

/

v*FD

/

vFD

P G v T

/

**!

/ /

*

/ /

*

P T v G

/

*!

/ /

**

/ /

*

G P v T

/

**!

/

*

/ / /

*

G T v P

/

*!

/

**

/ / /

*

T G v P

/ /

**!

/

*

/ /

*

T P v G

/ /

*

/

**

/ /

*

v T P G

/ /

*

/

**

/ /

***!

T v P G

/ /

*

/

**

/ /

**!

T P G v

/ /

*

/

**

/

*!

/

*

Finally, we need to get the whole thing together

this works in the following way

1 T P v G 2 3

the positioning of the verb with respect to both domains does most of the job

but the inflection domain is closer to the verb and so gets situated in the second position of the argument domain

This can be achieved with a set of adjacency constraints

tAv, pAv, gAv

these will be ranked below the domain based constraints so that they will not interfere with the basic order, but they will be ranked above the argument adjacency constraints