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As mentioned above, Haider (1993) proposes
that scrambling structures are created by base generating a trace to link the
scrambled argument to its (empty) default position. This proposal has the
advantage that the argument surfaces in the scrambling position not through
application of Move-a,
but by cost-free merging. Whereas Haider emphasizes that his model is designed
to be purely representational, it is straightforwardly translatable into the
terminology of the strictly derivational minimalist program, which I will
It is commonly assumed that the features
associated with lexical items are organized in clusters, i.e. a set of formal
features (F-features) and a set of morphophonological features (P-features). One
may argue that in English, the P-features of an object are saturated within the
VP, whereas the F-features enter the syntax via an AgrO-position. Since English
P-features supply only minimal information about associated F-features, a
convergence condition may then require that at the point of Spell-Out, both P-
and F-features are to be found in the same position, which would trigger
movement of the overt object up to [Spec, AgrO]. Haider's proposal can now be
reformulated as follows: German has overt case morphology, i.e. German
P-features do inform about associated F-features. Thus, German allows saturation
of F-features in the default argument position, whereas saturation of the
P-features may or may not be postponed.
Because of the 'traceability' of the P/F-feature association, convergence does
not depend on feature unification before Spell-Out as it does in English.
This, at first glance, extremely attractive
proposal fails, because it shares one characteristic with the traditional
A-/A-bar movement accounts: it crucially relies on the existence of a trace
(i.e. the saturation position of the F-features). A close scrutiny of the
relevant data reveals, however, that the hypothesis of a scrambling trace is
Haider (1993: 199) mentions a circumstance
that makes scrambling traces suspicious from the start: multiple scrambling does
not show relativized minimality effects in terms of Rizzi (1991). Consider (24):
should be a potential antecedent for ei
and thus intervene between ei and
der Kuß, but no such intervention is
discernible. The theory would have to be embellished with ad hoc assumptions
granting scrambling traces a special status, certainly an unwelcome
In the context of V2, various elements can
undergo fronting in German. To recapitulate, (16b) - (16f) show that subject,
object and verb can be fronted alone. Verb fronting is possible regardless of
the argument order in the residual VP. Object and verb can undergo V2 together,
but not subject and verb.
..., daß die Prinzessin den
Prinzen geheiratet hat.
princessNOM the princeACC married
Die Prinzessin hat den Prinzen geheiratet.
Den Prinzen hat die Prinzessin geheiratet.
Geheiratet hat die Prinzessin den Prinzen.
Geheiratet hat den Prinzen die Prinzessin.
Den Prinzen geheiratet hat die Prinzessin.
* [ VP Die Prinzessin geheiratet [V ei ]
]j hati den Prinzen ej.
Haider claims that the ungrammaticality of
(16g) stems from the fact that the moved VP contains the trace of the
ACC-argument, i.e. the derivation of (16g) would involve an intermediate
scrambling step, such that the resulting structure should be that shown in (17):
Die Prinzessin [VP ej [VP [V geheiratet
[V ek ]]]]]i hatk
[VP den Prinzenj ei ].
The fronted scrambling trace ej would
not be c-commanded by its antecedent and result in an ECP-violation.
One problem with this analysis is the fact
that the fronted VP already contains a trace, i.e. that of the auxiliary hat:
since no independent I-position is available, auxiliaries in base structures
such as (16a) are assumed to merge with V, yielding the representation (18):
In the formation of a matrix structure, the
auxiliary would have to move up to F,
leaving a trace. Whereas (16d) and (16e) would allow for the verb to move
without the auxiliary trace, (16f) requires it to be tagged along, since den
Prinzen and the verb would otherwise not form a constituent. The auxiliary
trace obviously does not violate the ECP, which requires explanation. It is
often assumed that typical A-bar movements (which include V2-fronting) either
allow LF-reconstruction of the moved element in its original position or do not
'really' move the constituent, but just copy it onto the landing site. In either
case, the auxiliary trace would be saved at LF. If this were the case, however,
the same should be true for the scrambling trace in (17). Again, a possible
conclusion may be that scrambling traces are of a different quality than traces
created by Move-a.
So far, however, no underlying principle has been proposed that would decide
which syntactic processes can 'see' the scrambling trace (e.g. V2-fronting), and
which cannot (e.g. relativized minimality).
The picture is further complicated when
3-place predicates are considered:
..., daß der Prinz
der Prinzessin den Kuß
princeNOM the princessDAT the
Den Kuß gegeben hat der Prinz der Prinzessin.
Der Prinzessin gegeben hat der Prinz den Kuß.
Der Prinzessin den Kuß gegeben hat der Prinz.
Den Kuß der Prinzessin gegeben hat der Prinz.
Der Prinzessin den Kuß gegeben hat der Prinz.
*Der Prinz gegeben hat der Prinzessin den Kuß.
*Der Prinz gegeben hat den Kuß der Prinzessin.
*Der Prinz der Prinzessin gegeben hat den Kuß.
*Der Prinzessin der Prinz gegeben hat den Kuß.
*Der Prinz den Kuß gegeben hat der Prinzessin.
*Den Kuß der Prinz gegeben hat der Prinzessin.
If it is correct that scrambling elements
leave traces, and if these traces cause ECP-violations, because e.g. they have
to be c-commanded by their antecedent at S-Structure (Spell-Out), (19g)-(19l)
are predictably ungrammatical. But (19c) should have a structure as shown in
(20) and by the same argument should not be grammatical either, which is not
Der Prinzessin [VP ej [VP [V gegeben
[V ek ]]]]]i
[VP der Prinzj
I am thus led to believe that V2-fronting not
only fails to provide evidence for scrambling traces, but that it casts doubt on
any analysis involving chain formation.
Haider argues that the following scope
ambiguities provide evidence for the existence of scrambling traces:
..., daß er fast
mindestens einen Trick
almost every apprenticeDAT at least
..., daß erNOM [mindestens einen TrickACC]i
fast jedem LehrlingDAT ei
(examples from Haider 1993: 205)
In (21a), the dative object has unequivocally
wide scope over the accusative object, whereas the latter can have either wide
or narrow scope in (21b). Haider (1993: 205) argues that c-command conditions on
the surface orderof
the quantified arguments determine their scope relation in (4a), i.e. the dative
object fast jedem Lehrling has
unequivocally wide scope. (4b), on the other hand, is ambiguous, which Haider
explains with the hypothesis that scope relations can be determined on the basis
of the structural positions of both overt arguments and corresponding empty
positions. Thus, the ACC object may thus have wide scope, since it c-commands
the DAT object, which in turn may also gain wide scope, because it c-commands
the empty ACC position.
Instead of assuming that scope relationships
are exclusively read off from S-structural c-command relationships, one may take
into consideration that default A-structures are availableat LF (as an
underlying structural tier). Scope at LF could thus be determined along two
dimensions: either on the basis of syntactic (c-command) relations, or on the
basis of A-structure precedence (or prominence). Ambiguities may thus arise from
a clash of overt syntactic structure with default argument orderings, which
would make the assumption of scrambling traces superfluous.
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© Philipp Strazny 1997
 "Postponing" does not mean that a principle like Procrastinate applies: since Merge is cost-free for the P-features in either position, it is not more economical to postpone saturation. The contrary may be the case: since the act of tracing an argument back to its default position may not be cost-free, saturation of P-features may be more economical in the default position. However, this cost does not apply within the context of sentence generation, which may explain that economy only causes a weak 'preference'.
 Cp. Reinhart (1983), Frey (1994).