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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2012, Vol. 43, No. 3, Pages 371-421
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00094)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Word Order and Scope: Transparent Interfaces and the ¾ Signature
Article PDF (1.1 MB)

A recurring pattern of partial correlations between word order variation and scope possibilities (the ¾ signature) supports a particular view of economy constraints in syntax, with these properties: (1) There are economy conditions (soft constraints) that value a particular type of correspondence between LF and PF representations. (2) These constraints are unidirectional: LF (broadly construed) is calculated first and determines PF (surface word order). (3) Scope rigidity is a property not of languages but of specific configurations, and the distribution of rigidity effects is (largely) predictable from independent variation in the syntactic resources of various languages.

We focus here on the interaction of these three assumptions and on the role of (2) in predicting the ¾ signature effect. We contrast our proposal with Reinhart’s (2005) Interface Economy model, in which economy conditions regulate a mapping that takes overt structure as its input and yields permissible interpretations.