- XP-adjunction in universal grammar: Scrambling and binding in Hindi-Urdu by Ayesha Kidwai
Apparently, one desire of Ayesha Kidwai was to write three books. For whatever reasons, however, she decided to stick to one, in which she tries to combine the themes of all three. If she had written them separately, they would have dealt with the ‘syntactic properties of scrambling’, ‘the status of derived XP-adjunction in a minimalist UG’, and ‘theories of binding and coreference in a minimalist UG’—which constitute the keywords from the title of the present volume. This, in any case, is my reading of K’s overview of the present one-volume work (19–21).
I am not sure that K’s sharing her three-book desire with the reader was wise, as one cannot help but compare the content of this book’s chapters with what three separate volumes might have achieved. And in this respect, the book falls short of expectations. What K does accomplish is to present a theoretical framework aimed at dealing with the peculiarities of scrambling (mainly in Hindi-Urdu). The particulars of her analysis involve a certain amount of adjunction-movement and have consequences for a theory of binding and coreference.
To briefly look at the content of the book, Ch. 1 lays out some basic ‘Issues in the study of scrambling’ (3–21), focusing mainly on the role of weak crossover, but ignoring other issues (such as optionality). Half of this introduction deals with scrambling, while the other half is a condensed presentation of some concepts of the minimalist program along with the above-mentioned overview. It sets the stage for the ‘scrambling book’, which consists of Ch. 2 in a narrow sense, and Chs. 3 and 4 more broadly. Ch. 2, ‘Scrambling: Syntactic properties’ (22–59), constitutes the motivation for K’s proposal of an analysis of scrambling. She shows there that while scrambling displays both A-character/L-relatedness and A’-character/non-L-relatedness, it is not NP-movement, wh-movement, topicalization, or even quantifier raising. Rather, K argues, scrambling is best analyzed as adjunction movement. Ch. 3 is concerned with ‘The structure of the UG clause’ (60–81), focusing on Hindi-Urdu clause structure (head-final VP and agreement projection interspersed therein). ‘Binding and coreference in UG’ (82–113) are addressed in Ch. 4, in which K argues for a revised binding theory that allows coreference with elements in adjoined positions. A discussion of ‘Scrambling, focus, and specificity’ (114–37) makes up Ch. 5. Ch. 6, finally, treats ‘XP-adjunction in UG’ (138–52). Among other things, K aims here to eliminate the notion of an A-/A’-distinction or L-relatedness in grammar (or the ‘L/L-bar distinction’, as K often refers to it), having still had it floating around in her earlier proposal of a binding theory.
In sum, K’s book is a welcome contribution to the study of scrambling and theory, something that might not have come out well in this notice. I have noted the negative impression triggered by K’s ‘three-book agenda’ because in the end, the book is rather limited in scope (Hindi-Urduscrambling and the role of binding/coreference) and theoretical finesse (XP-adjunction with VP-internal AgrP—is that all?). But for what it’s worth, it does deal well with the issues it is concerned with. As a note to the publisher: the index is very close to useless.