Sunday, March 29, 2015

A (shortish) whig history of GG (part 3)

This continues this post and this post. I have mentioned before, that GG has developed an impressive body of doctrine. Part of this are the generalizations that have been discovered over the course of the last 60 years. Finding these and trying to then explain them have been a central feature of GG research. Here I list a bunch. The remaining two sections (to be posted) discuss some proffered explanations.


2.     A list of some of the effects GG has discovered

The LK story is one of many that GGers have told over the last 60 years.  Here is a partial list of some of the effects that are still widely investigated (both theoretically and empirically) within GG research. Some of these effects can be considered analogous to “laws of grammatical structure” which serve as probes into the inner workings of FL.  As in the case of LK’s binding proposal, the effects comprise both negative and positive data and they have served as explanatory targets (and benchmarks) for theories of FL.

These effects also illustrate another distinguishing mark of an emerging science. In the successful sciences, most of the data is carefully constructed, not casually observed.  In this sense, it is not “natural” at all, but factitious.  The effects enumerated here are similar. They are not thick on the conversational ground. Many of these effects concentrate on what cannot exist (i.e. negative data).  Many are only visible in comparatively complex linguistic structures and so are only rarely attested in natural speech or PLD (if at all). Violations of the binding conditions such as John believes himself is intelligent are never attested outside of technical papers in GG syntax. Thus, in GG (as in much of physics, chemistry, biology etc.) much of the core data that GG uses to probe FL is constructed, rather than natural.[1] To repeat, this is a hallmark of modes of investigation that have made the leap from naturalistic observation to scientific explanation. The kinds of data that drive GG work is of this constructed kind.[2]

Here, then is a partial list of some of the more important effects that GG has discovered.

1. Island effects (Ross)
            a. Weak Island effects
b. Strong Island effects
2. Cross Over effects (Postal)

3. Control vs Raising effects (Rosenbaum)

4. Minimal Distance effects in control configurations (Rosenbaum)

5. Binding effects (Lees and Klima, Lasnik, Chomsky)
6. Cyclicity effects (Kayne&Pollock, McCloskey, Chomsky)

7. Principle C-effects: an anaphoric element cannot c-command its antecedent (Lees and
Klima, Chomsky)

8. CED effects (Huang)

a. Subject condition effects

b. Adjunct condition effects

9. Fixed subject effects (Perlmutter, Bresnan)

10. Unaccusativity Effects (Perlmutter, Postal, Burzio, Rizzi)

11. Connectedness effects (Higgins)

12. Obligatory control vs non obligatory control effects (Williams)

13. The subject orientation of long distance anaphors (? Huang)

14. Case effects (e.g. *John to leave inspired Mary)

15. Theta Criterion effects (e.g. *Who did John kiss Mary)

16. NPI licensing effects (Linebarger, Ladusaw)

17. Phrasal Headedness Effects (Lyons, Chomsky, Stowell, Marantz)

18. Clause-mate effects (Postal)

19. Expletive-Associate Locality effects (Milsark, Chomsky)

20. Parasitic gap effects (Engdahl, Chomsky)

21. pro drop effects (Perlmutter, Rizzi)
22. ECP effects (Lasnik&Saito, Rizzi, Chomsky, Huang, Kayne)

23. Weakest Cross Over effects (Lasnik and Stowell)

24. Coordinate Structure Constraint
            a. ATB effects (systematic exceptions to CSC)
25. Ellipsis effects (Ross, Merchant, Lasnik, systematic exceptions to island effects)

26. A-movement/scrambling obviating WCO effects (Postal, Saito)
27. Intervention/minimality effects (Rizzi, Cinque, Starke)
28. Constituency effects
29. Scope Reconstruction effects
30. Lexical Integrity Effects
31. Psych verb effects (Belletti and Rizzi)
32. Double Object Construction effects (Barss & Lasnik)

As in the case of the LK binding proposal outlined above, just describing these effects involves postulating rules and structures to NL expressions. Thus, each effect comes together with sets of positive and negative examples and rules/restrictions that describe these data.  As in any scientific domain, simply describing the effects already requires quite a bit of theoretical apparatus (e.g. what’s an island, what’s a deletion rule, what’s the difference between A and A’ movement, what’s case, what’s a clause etc.). And, as is true elsewhere, the discovery of these effects sets the stage for the next stage of inquiry: explaining them and seeing what these explanations can tell us about the structure of FL.

[1] Cartwright discussion of this?  How only in artificial settings get generalizations….
[2] Constructed data are generally more robust than naturalistic data, as Cartwright observes.  Furthermore, it allows for investigations to be more systematic by allowing researchers to put their own questions to nature and make her answer these rather than simply waiting until nature voluntarily gives up her secrets.


  1. For NPI licensing effects, also add Klima and Fauconnier.

  2. Perhaps structure preserving transformations and auxiliary placement rules (Emonds) also belong on this list.

  3. Also, differential properties of different nominalization processes (Chomsky), and more generally of different alternations (causative/anticausative/unaccusative/unergative...) perhaps.