Predicate fronting in Yiddish and conditions on multiple copy Spell-Out


Predicate fronting with doubling (also known as the predicate cleft) has long been a challenge for theories of syntax that do not predict the pronunciation of multiple occurrences. Previous analyses that derive the construction via syntactic movement, including those attributing verb doubling to the formation of parallel chains (e.g., Aboh 2006; Kandybowicz 2008), are incompatible with remnant movement (Müller 1998), which does not give rise to doubling. This article presents data from the predicate fronting construction in Yiddish, in which verbs always double but complements never do. I argue that these seemingly contradictory pronunciation facts can be reconciled even if one assumes that phrasal movement and head movement are both syntactic. More specifically, the pronunciation of occurrences in Yiddish (doubled or not) follows from the general conditions on Spell-Out (or TransferPF) defined by Collins and Stabler (2016), modified only to accommodate syntactic head movement. Post-syntactic PF repairs are thus not required to account for the facts of the Yiddish predicate fronting construction. If such repairs are needed to generate doubling phenomena in other languages, they should be explicitly defined so as to modify or override the predictions of default Spell-Out conditions.

Publication date: 
March 26, 2021
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Bleaman, I. L. (2022). Predicate fronting in Yiddish and conditions on multiple copy Spell-Out. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 40(2), 393–424.