Movement of Quantificational Head

Tommy Tsz-ming Lee
Fri February 5th 2021, 1:30 - 3:00pm
Online (Zoom)

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One issue which figures in the literature of head movement (HM) concerns its semantic effects, which are often said to be absent. The lack of semantic effects appears to distinguish HM from phrasal movement and raises non-trivial concerns on the theoretical status of HM in movement theories. The primary goal of this paper is to present a novel piece of evidence for HM with semantic effects from Cantonese. Based on an in-depth investigation into the distribution of quantificational heads such as aspectual verbs and modal verbs in Cantonese, I propose that they can undergo (overt) HM to a higher position and it shifts the scope relations between these verbs and other quantificational elements, constituting an instance of HM with semantic effects. Additionally, the proposed HM interacts with an independently motivated condition on interpretation. Particularly, its application is constrained by Scope Economy (Fox 2000), alongside other scope-shifting operations.