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Linguistic Inquiry

Winter 2016, Vol. 47, No. 1, Pages 89-126
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00205)
© 2016 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wholesale Late Merger in Ā-Movement: Evidence from Preposition Stranding
Article PDF (1.03 MB)

To account for several asymmetries between A- and Ā-movement, Takahashi and Hulsey (2009) generalize the late merger option (Lebeaux 1988, Chomsky 1995) as wholesale late merger (WLM). In particular, allowing an NP to merge with a head D as late as (but no later than) its Case position explains why Ā- but not A-movement displays Principle C reconstruction effects. In this article, I claim that WLM is also responsible for pervasive asymmetries within the class of Ā-extractions. The evidence comes from restrictions on English preposition stranding. I document a correlation between a preposition’s complementation properties and its ability to be stranded: prepositions that disallow pronominal complements can only be stranded by a subset of Ā-extractions. I argue that the extractions allowing pronoun-rejecting prepositions to be stranded disallow WLM, while those that disallow the stranding allow (and require) WLM.