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--------------------------   INFOLING   ------------------------------
 Lista de distribución de lingüística del español (ISSN: 1576-3404)
                  http://elies.rediris.es/infoling/
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                             EDITORES:
       Carlos Subirats Rüggeberg, UAB <[log in to unmask]>
           Mar Cruz Piñol, U. Barcelona <[log in to unmask]>
        Eulalia de Bobes Soler, UAB <[log in to unmask]>
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Estudios de Lingüística del Español (ELiEs): http://elies.rediris.es
es una red temática de lingüística del español asociada a INFOLING.
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                       Resumen de tesis doctoral:
    Rodrigo Gutierrez-Bravo. 2002. Structural Markedness and Syntactic
Structure: A Study of Word Order and the Left Periphery in Mexican
Spanish. Department of Linguistics, University of California, Santa Cruz
Dissertation Directors: Judith Aissen, Donka Farkas, and James McCloskey
      De: Rodrigo Gutierrez-Bravo <[log in to unmask]>
            Información distribuida por Linguist List:
          http://linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-342.html#1
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                        Dissertation Abstract:

    This dissertation investigates a number of word order phenomena
attested in Spanish in general and in Mexican Spanish in particular,
concentrating on the unmarked word order of this language and the
perturbations of this order that result from two left-peripheral
movement operations, topicalization and wh-movement. The core proposal
developed here is that the unmarked word order in Spanish is not the
result of some licensing condition related to the subject (i.e. Case,
agreement, etc.), but rather results from the interaction between the
Extended Projection Principle (EPP) and considerations regarding
structural markedness.

    The analysis developed here argues that, in the unmarked case, the
EPP in Spanish is satisfied in the specifier of the highest inflectional
projection by the argument of the verb that ranks highest in the
thematic hierarchy, which may but need not correspond to the grammatical
subject. To disassociate the constituent that satisfies the EPP from any
specific grammatical relation, I propose that it be referred to as the
Pole of the clause.

    I propose that Spanish clauses with different constituents in the
Pole position have different degrees of structural markedness, depending
of their semantic role. Agents and experiencers constitute the least
marked instance of a Pole. Other arguments and adjuncts which rank lower
in the thematic hierarchy constitute more marked instances of a Pole. I
argue that beyond a certain degree of structural markedness (when the
constituent that would satisfy the EPP ranks low in the thematic
hierarchy) it is better not to satisfy the EPP altogether. This explains
a number of Spanish verb-initial constructions where the highest
inflectional specifier is left empty. I argue that Optimality Theory
(Prince & Smolensky 1993), where well-formedness conditions are
interpreted as violable constraints, provides a straightforward analysis
of this state of affairs.

    Finally, I show that the two fundamental properties of the Pole
position, its sensitivity to the semantic role of the constituent that
occupies it and being the position where the EPP is satisfied, allow us
to explain a number of word order facts observed in two left-peripheral
phenomena in Spanish, topicalization and the fronting of interrogative
operators.

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