Project Description

The Odysseus project (Comparative syntax. Layers of structure and the cartography project) is cast in the generative framework. It explores the cartographic approach to syntax, whose aim it is to decompose the sentence in its primitive syntactic components. The current research project has three main lines of enquiry. A first project line deals with the syntax of the left periphery of the clause, i.e. the constituents to the left of the subject position. The goal is to determine to what extent the left periphery of the clause may be structurally deficient and whether the deficiency can be derived from independent principles of the grammar. The second line of the project examines the demarcation of the left periphery (‘CP’) and the core sentential domain (‘TP’) in the light of recent proposals in cartographic approaches and raises the question of the status of the subject position in relation to CP and TP. The third strand of research examines to what extent the internal structure of the nominal projection can be assimilated to that of the clause.

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Related projects

Rethinking Comparative Syntax (ReCoS)

Rethinking Comparative Syntax (ReCoS) is an ERC-funded research project at the University of Cambridge that aims to reconceptualise the principles-and-parameters approach to comparative syntax, addressing the tension between descriptive and explanatory adequacy that is posed by the microparametric methods associated with the minimalist program. The central idea is to organise microparameters into hierarchies determined by general learning strategies, with the highest positions defining macroparameters and thus major typological properties. Furthermore, parameter-setting is proposed to start at the highest position in a hierarchy and works downwards, and so hierarchies additionally represent learning pathways. In particular, the project examines the five putative hierachies of linearization, null arguments, word structure, discourse configurationality, and alignment.

More detail on the aims, goals, and methodology of the project can be found in the project website, as well as information on the people involved with the project, and the papers it has produced.