Call for papers

Anti-locality and Snowballing movement Call for papers (downloadable version: PDF)


The past 15 years have seen a number of attempts to account for word order variation in terms of so-called snowballing or roll-up movement. Snowballing movement involves movement of a phrase XP to the specifier of the immediately c-commanding head Y, followed by pied-piping movement of YP to the next specifier (Aboh 2004, Pearson 2000, Munaro and Poletto 2003, Travis 2005).

If one starts out from an LCA-compatible universal base (Kayne 1994, Aboh 2004, Munaro & Poletto 2003), this kind of movement seems necessary to derive mirroring effects in head-final orders. However, in its simplest form it violates anti-locality constraints on movement as proposed by, among others, Grohmann (2000), Pesetsky and Torrego (2001:362-3) and Abels (2003), which prohibit movement of a phrase from a complement position to a specifier position within one maximal projection.


The purpose of this workshop is to explore the tension between snowballing movement and the anti-locality constraint, as well as the various empirical and theoretical issues that are raised by them. Specifically, we welcome papers addressing questions such as the following:

  • How does feature checking take place in snowballing movement? Are the features or the checking mechanism different from those involved in ordinary phrasal movement through specifiers  (‘rolling stone movement’ in Travis’ (2005) terminology)?
  • Travis (2005) argues that movement involving [+V]-features targets Vo in some languages, but VP in other languages. As she acknowledges (145, footnote 22),  the question arises as to what factors determine the choice in the category.
  • What is the empirical evidence that shows that snowballing movement is unavoidable? Is snowballing required/generally available cross-linguistically or is it restricted to specific language types? Is there any evidence for newly created or destroyed c-command relations resulting from snowballing movement? What, if any, are the semantic or pragmatic effects of snowballing movement? As Abels and Neeleman (2007) note, additional effects such as scope interpretations, intervention effects and NPI-licensing are expected to arise.
  • What are the empirical data that make anti-locality unavoidable? Is it operative in all languages or subject to cross-linguistic variation? How does it derive from the theory as proposed in the minimalist program? What is the definition of ‘too local’, etc. (Abels 2003, Grohmann 2000)
  • Anti-locality violations can be avoided, if snowballing movement targets interlacing layers of functional structure (Cinque 2005). Is there independent motivation for such layers? Are these additional layers to be postulated in the absence of snowballing?
  • If snowballing movement by way of complement-to-local-spec violates anti-locality, then what is the status of head-to-head movement – if admitted – which itself implicates a form of roll up on heads and is also highly local.

Abstracts are invited for a 30-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of discussion. An author may submit at most one single and one joint abstract. Abstracts should be anonymous, and at most 2 pages in 12-point font with 1'' margins, including data and references.

Authors are requested to submit their abstracts using easychair ( You will need to create an account first. Only submissions through this system will be considered. Please direct all the questions related to the submission procedure to:

Important Dates:

Abstract deadline: 15 March 2010

Notification of acceptance: 1 May 2010

Workshop: 24-25 June 2010



Abels, Klaus. 2003. Successive cyclicity, anti-locality, and adposition stranding. Doctoral dissertation, University of Connecticut.

Abels, Klaus, and Ad Neeleman. 2007. Linear asymmetries and the LCA. Ms. version 2.3 available at

Aboh, Enoch Oladé. 2004. Snowballing movement and generalized pied-piping. In Breitbarth, Anne & Henk van Riemsdijk (eds) Triggers. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 15-47.

Cinque, Guglielmo. 2005. Deriving Greenberg's Universal 20 and its Exceptions, Linguistics Inquiry 36:315-332.

Grohmann, Kleanthes. 2000. Prolific peripheries: A radical view from the left. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park.

Kayne, Richard. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Munaro, Nicola and Cecilia Poletto. 2003. Sentential particles and clausal typing in the Veneto dialects. University of Venice Working Papers in Linguistics. Vol. 13, 127-154.

Pearson, Matt. 2000. Two types of VO Languages. In Svenonius, Peter (ed.) The Derivation of VO and OV. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 327-363.

Pesetsky, David, and Esther Torrego. 2001. T-to-C movement: Causes and consequences. In Kenstowicz, Mike (ed.), Ken Hale: A life in language. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 355-526.

Travis, Lisa. 2005. VP, Do-movement languages. In Zanuttini, Raffaella, Héctor Campos, Elena Herburger and Paul Portner (eds.) Negation, Tense and Clausal Architecture: Cross-linguistic Investigations. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.


Organizing Committee:

Lobke Aelbrectht (GIST)

Marijke De Belder (CRISSP)

Anne Breitbarth (GIST)

Karen De Clercq (GIST)

Jeroen Van Craenenbroeck (CRISSP)

Liliane Haegeman (GIST)

Will Harwood (GIST)

Adrienn Jánosi (CRISSP)

Dany Jaspers (CRISSP)

Rachel Nye (GIST)

Amélie Rocquet (GIST)

Guido Vanden Wyngaerd (CRISSP)

Reiko Vermeulen (GIST)


Questions & information: anne.breitbarth(at) and karen.declercq(at)