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Linguistic Inquiry

Winter 2016, Vol. 47, No. 1, Pages 1-33
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00203)
© 2016 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Getting Really Edgy: On the Edge of the Edge
Article PDF (749.53 KB)

The article argues that in constructions where there is more than one phrase at a phasal edge, only the highest edge is available for movement and anaphor binding. This shows that only the outermost edge counts as the edge of a phase for the Phase Impenetrability Condition ( PIC). The article also demonstrates that moving the element that counts as the phasal edge in multiple specifier/adjunct cases can affect the PIC status of the remaining edges. These conclusions provide a new argument for the contextuality of phasehood. A number of recent works have argued that the phasal status of a phrase can be affected by the syntactic context in which it occurs. This article goes one step further: it shows that the concept of phasal edge, more precisely the status of a specifier/adjunct regarding the PIC, can also be affected by the syntactic context in which the specifier/adjunct occurs. The article also discusses several issues regarding the syntax and semantics of adjectives, possessors, and demonstratives, including what Partee (2006) calls familiar demonstratives, as well as anaphor binding.