Linguistic variation yearbook 2005

Linguistic variation yearbook 2005. Ed. by Pierre Pica, Johan Rooryck, and Jeroen van Craenenbroeck. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. 308. ISBN 9789027254757. $114.

Reviewed by Lara Reglero, Florida State University

This book is the fifth edition of the Linguistic variation yearbook. Like its predecessors, the book contains a number of papers addressing issues of linguistic variation within the minimalist framework, addressing a variety of topics ranging from relative clauses, wh-questions, adjacency effects, and harmony patterns, among many others. The focus of the papers is methodological, theoretical, and/or empirical in nature.

The book opens with an ‘Introduction’ (1–3) from the editors in which they summarize the contents of the articles to follow. In ‘Reconstruction in relative clauses and the copy theory of traces’ (5–35), Carlo Cecchetto examines reconstruction effects in relative clauses that contain an unaccusative head. He notes that reconstruction effects are only found in identity sentences, as opposed to subject-predicate sentences. Based on this contrast, he argues that reconstruction effects are not the result of combining the copy theory and a raising analysis of relative clauses. Instead, he argues for a nonraising analysis in which the semantics of identity sentences plays a crucial role.

Gisbert Fanselow, Reinhold Kliegl, and Matthias Schlesewsky’s ‘Syntactic variation in German wh-questions: Empirical investigations of weak crossover violations and long wh-movement’ (37–63) discusses the findings from three experiments on syntactic variation in German wh-questions. In an acceptability rating experiment, the authors investigate weak crossover violations. The results indicate that the variation they found is due to extra-grammatical factors. The second experiment (sentence completion task) targets wh-movement out of finite clauses. In this case, the authors found that the variation could be dialectal. A follow-up training experiment, however, indicates that the variation is also due to nonlinguistic factors.

Anikó Lipták explores the internal structure of temporal adverbial clauses in ‘Relativization strategies in temporal adjunct clauses’ (65–117). She uncovers a new strategy in Hungarian, IP-relativization, which probably also applies in German and Serbian. By comparing Hungarian with Hindi and Basque, the author suggests that IP-relativization is a syntactic alternative to nominalization. In ‘Microvariations in harmony and value-relativized parametrization’ (119–64), Andrew Nevins considers parametric variation in harmony patterns. By examining Yoruba and Modern Manchu dialects, the author proposes that alternating morphemes searching for a harmonic value may have access to all values, only a single-value, or to contrastive values. Adam Szczegielniak’s ‘Two types of resumptive pronouns in polish relative clauses’ (165–85) examines adjacent resumptives and embedded resumptives in Polish relative clauses. The author argues that embedded resumptives are regular resumptive pronouns. In contrast, adjacent resumptives are truncated/cliticicized forms of the relative operator.

In ‘Microparameters for Norwegian wh-grammars’ (187–226), Øystein Alexander Vangsnes proposes three microparameters to account for the lack of V2 effects in matrix wh-questions across different Norwegian dialects. The proposed microparameters rely on whether interrogative C must be lexicalized, and whether a short wh-word or a complemetizer can lexicalize C. Peter Svenonius analyzes the structure of idioms in his article ‘Extending the extension condition to discontinuous idioms’ (227–63). He proposes that Merge can apply to subconstituents even after Merge has already applied to the structure. The resulting structures are called Banyan trees and contain more than one root. Finally, Charles Yang’s ‘On productivity’ (265–302) investigates why grammars contain exceptions. For this, the author studies morphological phenomena and advances a learning model in which productive processes and exceptions are internalized in a different way.

The Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2005 successfully brings together a collection of papers that will be of great interest to researchers working on comparative studies within the generative framework.