Extra-syntactic factors in the that-trace effect

Extra-syntactic factors in the that-trace effect


Jeanne Heil PhD


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Book Chapter


Chapter 14 in Contemporary Trends in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics: Selected papers from the Hispanic Linguistic Symposium 2015, edited by Jonathan E. MacDonald.

Chapter description:

Using predictions from the Interface Hypothesis and the grammar of Spanish-English bilinguals, we test whether non-syntactic factors play a role in the that-trace effect. Though generally analyzed syntactically, some work on that-trace supports a syntax-prosody account (Kandybowicz, 2006). The Interface Hypothesis predicts that bilinguals will have difficulty with interface phenomena but not narrow syntax, such that testing bilinguals’ knowledge of that-trace provides a unique testing ground for comparing the two approaches. We demonstrate that bilinguals have the syntactic underpinnings necessary for both syntactic and syntax-prosody accounts of that-trace; however, they differ from the monolinguals with regard to that-trace, extending the phenomenon’s restriction on extraction to a new context, supporting a syntax-prosody account of that-trace.

Book description:

Contemporary Trends in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics offers a panorama of current research into multiple varieties of Spanish from several different regions (Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Honduras), Catalan, Brazilian Portuguese, as well as varieties in contact with English and Purépecha. The first part of the volume focuses on the structural aspects and use of these languages in the areas of syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, diachrony, phonetics, phonology and morphology. The second part discusses the effect of interacting multiple grammars, namely, first language acquisition, second language acquisition, varieties in contact, and bilingualism. As a whole, the contributions in this volume provide a methodological balance between qualitative and quantitative approaches to Language and, in this way, represent contemporary trends in Hispanic and Lusophone linguistics.



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John Benjamins


bilingualism, Interface Hypothesis, EPP, wh-questions, expletives, syntax-prosody interface, wh-question, wh-phrase, -trace effect, extraction, comp-trace effect, complementizer-trace effect, syntax-prosody interface, Interface Hypothesis, Extended Projection Principle, EPP, expletives

Extra-syntactic factors in the that-trace effect