What are the Diagnostics of a Multidominant Structure?
Multidominant structures (doubly rooted structures of the kind given in (1)) have been invoked as a solution to a number of both empirical and theoretical puzzles.
(1) XP YP
/ \ / \
X ZP Y
The idea that such structures exist spans several decades and frameworks, going back at least to the seventies and the work of Sampson (1975) on raising and control and Williams (1978) on Across-the-Board wh-questions. Since then, many different mechanisms have been proposed to generate such structures, including (but not limited to): factorization of Williams (1978), Parallel Merge of Citko (2005), behindance-Merge of De Vries 2005, grafting of Van Riemsdijk (2000, 2006a,b), banyan trees of Svenonius (2005), sharing of Gračanin-Yuksek (2007), union of phrase markers of Goodall (1987), node contraction of Chen-Main (2006) and tree linking of Gärtner (2002). Interestingly, while the issue of linearization and interpretation of multidominant structures has received a fair amount of attention in the literature, the very fundamental issue of how to diagnose a multidominant structure has not. We have reliable ways to diagnose A versus A-bar positions, heads versus phrases, specifiers versus complements, covert versus overt movement; what still seems to be lacking is an adequate diagnostic (or set of diagnostics) of multidominance, something akin to crossover as a diagnostic of A-bar dependencies.
The landscape of multidominance is quite diverse and includes both coordinate and non-coordinate structures, as evidenced by the far from complete list of constructions (coordinate ones in (2) and non-coordinate ones in (3)) that have been analyzed in a multidominant fashion. For the purpose of the question of how to diagnose multidominance, it is immaterial whether a multidominant analysis is the correct one for all of them or just a subset thereof; all that matters is that the grammar allows such structures. Simply put, if they exist, we need to know how to find them.
(2) a. Across-the-board wh-questions (Williams 1978, Goodall 1987, Citko 2005,
2011, De Vries 2009, among others)
b. Right Node Raising (Citko 2011, McCawley 1982, Goodall 1987, Wilder 1999, De Vries 2009, Kluck 2009, Johnson 2007, among many, many others)
c. gapping (and determiner sharing) (Kasai 2007, Citko 2006, 2011, 2012)
d. Questions with coordinated wh-pronouns (Gracanin-Yuksek 2007, Citko 2013,
Citko and Gracanin-Yuksek 2013, among others)
(3) a. Serial verb constructions (Hiraiwa and Bodomo 2008)
b. Free relatives (Haider 1988, Citko 2000, Van Riemsdijk 1998, 2000, 2006)
c. Parasitic Gaps (Kasai 2007)
d. Amalgams (De Vries 2013)
e. Parentheticals (McCawley 1982, De Vries 2005)
f. Appositives (McCawley 1982, Heringa 2009)
g. Comparatives (Moltmann 1992)
h. Discontinuous idioms (Svenonius 2005)
i. movement in general (Chomsky 2004, Gärtner 2002, among others)
A natural way to proceed in the search for a reliable multidominant diagnostic (or set of diagnostics) is to ask what property (or set of properties) characterizes these constructions to the exclusion of others. Let us thus look at some that at various times been associated with multidominance. Intuitively, coordination might seem like a plausible candidate. After all, the two conjuncts in a coordinate structure are parallel. Thus perhaps multidominance is a way to capture this parallelism. However, it is clear that it cannot be one due to the simple the fact that there do exist non-coordinate multidominant structures, i.e. the ones given in (3). Likewise, ellipsis cannot be the right diagnostic, in spite of the intuitive appeal of the idea that perhaps what (some) cases of ellipsis involve is the non-pronunciation of one occurrence of the multiply dominated element. While movement is sometimes analyzed in a multidominant fashion, not all of the constructions in (2-3) involve movement. Similarly, while parentheticals of various types (appositives, amalgams) have been claimed to involve multidominance, there exist enough multidominant yet non-parenthetical constructions to be doubtful of a one-to-one correlation between the two.
What the multidominant constructions listed in (2-3) seem to have in common is the idea (or intuition) that a single element has to simultaneously fulfill the requirements imposed on it by the two elements between which it is shared. In other words, it has to match them in some relevant sense. If so, could matching be a diagnostic we are after? In order to answer this question, we need to further ask what kind of matching multidominant structures require, and what kinds of mismatches they tolerate (if they tolerate mismatches at all). If we limit our attention to constructions in which a nominal element is shared between two nodes, the question becomes whether this shared nominal has to match both in morphological case, Abstract case, thematic role, or (relative) thematic prominence. Logically speaking, mismatches could be due to syncretism effects, proximity effects (or the reverse, anti-proximity effects) or hierarchy effects. The ameliorating effects of case syncretism have been documented pretty well in the relevant literature. However, it is not the case that mismatches due to factors other than syncretism are never tolerated. Citko (2011), for example, points out that in Polish ATB wh-questions tolerate mismatches only with syncretic forms, whereas Right Node Raising tolerate mismatches that suggest proximity is at issue, as shown by the contrast between the ATB question in (4a) and the RNR construction in (5b). In both of them, the verbs inside the two conjuncts impose different case requirements on their objects: the verb lubić ‘like’ requires accusative case whereas the verb ufać ‘trust’ requires dative case. Furthermore, in both of them the object of these two verbs (bolded in (4a-b)) is shared between the two clauses. Interestingly, in the ATB case, neither the accusative nor the dative form of the shared (fronted) wh-pronoun yields a grammatical result, whereas in the RNR case, the dative form of the shared object is possible.
(4) a. *Kogo/*komu Jan lubi a Maria ufa? [Polish]
who.acc/who.dat Jan likes and Maria trusts
‘Who does Jan like and Maria trust?’ atb question
b. Jan lubi a Maria ufa tej koleżance/*tȩ koleżankȩ z pracy.
Jan likes and Maria trusts this.dat friend.dat/this friend.acc from work
‘Jan liked and everyone avoided this friend from work.’ RNR
The fact that not all multidominant constructions are subject to the same kind of case matching requirement casts doubt on the correlation between multidominance and matching, and, consequently, on matching as a multidominance diagnostic. Thus, the search for a reliable diagnostic of a multidominant structure continues.
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