Head-movement and Phases in Old Irish
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 12-1 p.m.
Research seminar in Linguistics: Phil Branigan
Although always characterised as a verb-subject-object (VSO) language, like most other Celtic languages,
Old Irish (c. 600–900) allows a rich set of particles, complementisers, negators, aspect markers and clitic
pronouns to precede the verb in both root and embedded clauses. The forms, the ordering and the
limitations on these preverbal items have baffled Celticists and linguists for over a century. In this talk, it
is shown that the complex grammatical patterns actually reflect the interactions of three general
morphosyntactic phenomena: a base structure in which both C and Fin are expressed in the clausal left
periphery, multiple head-movement, and phase-head transference. The analysis sheds new light on the
labeling algorithm by showing that successful labeling may require singleton head-movement.
Presented by Department of Linguistics