Skeptical Linguistic Essays

By Paul M. Postal | Go to book overview

2
A Putatively Banned Type of Raising

1. Background
Syntacticians are a notoriously argumentative lot given to (sometimes) acrimonious disputes, and few, if any, syntactic conclusions have achieved uniform endorsement. One might therefore assume that a point on that a broad consensus of syntactic opinion has been reached is one that can be accorded some confidence. Notable then is that during the 1980s and 1990s proponents of the three most widely appealed to contemporary views of NL syntax, that is, the government binding (GB), lexicalfunctional grammar (LFG), and head-driven phrase structure grammar (HPSG) frameworks, all came to a common conclusion. Namely, although as a consequence of very different principles internal to each of these views, a certain type of syntactic raising was taken to be impossible. One might be tempted then to infer that this conclusion is now a well-established fact of NL syntax. In the framework of skeptical essays, however, caution is evidently in order.Postal (1974: 363, note 7) mentioned a class of English complement cases of the type shown in (1):
1. You can depend on him to do something decent,

noting that they were likely part of a larger paradigm that also involves the verbs bet (on), bank (on), count (on), and rely (on). It was claimed that the highlighted DP in (1) was a superficial main clause subconstituent but an underlying complement subject, hence one raised into the main clause. A similar view was stated in Emonds

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