The Articulated Structure of the Left Periphery
This chapter provides some background to the book. It first briefly looks at the development of the generative conception of clause structure, with particular reference to the structure assigned to the so-called left periphery of the clause, that is, the area to the left of the canonical subject position. The second half of the chapter zooms in on the left periphery of the English clause and examines, among other things, to what extent it would be feasible to derive the lineup of the constituents in the English left periphery purely from principles governing information structure. One central theme in the discussion is the question of whether it is necessary to exclude what is referred to as a “lower topic” (i.e., a topic projection dominated by the focus projection) in English. It is shown that it is not necessary to exclude the lower topic projection as such from the English left periphery. Rather, in many cases, the ban on placing constituents in the lower topic position can be derived as a consequence of locality conditions on head movement.
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