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Linguistic Inquiry

Winter 2003, Vol. 34, No. 1, Pages 37-90
(doi: 10.1162/002438903763255922)
© 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linear Order and Constituency
Article PDF (199.7 KB)
Abstract

This article presents a series of arguments that syntactic structures are built incrementally, in a strict left-to-right order. By assuming incremental structure building it becomes possible to explain the differences in the range of constituents available to different diagnostics of constituency, including movement, ellipsis, coordination, scope, and binding. In an incremental derivation structure building creates new constituents, and in doing so it may destroy existing constituents. The article presents detailed evidence for the prediction of incremental grammar that a syntactic process may refer only to those constituents that are present at the point in the derivation when the process applies.