Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-linguistic Perspective

Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-linguistic Perspective

Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-linguistic Perspective

Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-linguistic Perspective


One of the world's leading syntacticians presents evidence for Locating Adverb Phrases in the specifiers of distinct functional projections within a novel and well articulated theory of the clause. In this theory, both adverbs and heads, which encode the functional notions of the clause, are ordered in a rigid sequence. Cinques cutting-edge proposal suggests that the structure of natural language sentences is much richer than previously assumed.


This monograph has two interrelated goals (though their relation may not be immediately obvious). The first is to motivate an analysis of adverb phrases (AdvPs) as the unique specifiers of distinct maximal projections, rather than as adjuncts. The second is to argue for the existence of a fixed universal hierarchy of clausal functional projections.

Despite the severe restrictions on phrase structure and movement proposed in Kayne (1994) and Chomsky (1995), U(niversal) G(rammar) is often still assumed to allow wide variation among languages in the number and type of functional projections that they admit and/or in their relative order. Moreover, it is often assumed that in a single language, different clause types may instantiate different sets of functional projections.

Here I try to construct a plausibility argument against these assumptions, suggesting that no such variation is allowed by UG and that the same number, type and order (hierarchy) of functional projections holds across languages and clause types, despite apparent counterevidence. Of course, to determine it empirically in detail is another matter, and what I have to say here is only a first approximation. Specifically, I argue that in addition to the order of free functional morphemes ("particles" and auxiliaries) and of bound functional morphemes (affixes), there is a third important source of evidence for determining the hierarchy of functional projections--namely, the order and the nature of the different classes of AdvPs in the clause.

We shall see that the different classes of AdvPs enter into a transparent Spec/ head relation with the different functional heads of the clause, providing evidence that may in certain languages be missing from the heads' side and that, when present, converges with that deriving from the order of free and bound functional morphemes. In other words, my suggestion is that adverbs are the overt manifestation of (the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.