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From maps to principles: Syntactic cartography and locality in adult grammars and language acquisition


The project aims to break new ground in syntax and acquisition by combining three main strands of research:
1. The cartography of syntactic structures, which attempts to draw detailed maps of syntactic configurations.
2. The theory of syntactic locality, with special reference to intervention and delimitation principles.
3. The minimalist investigation of the fundamental ingredients of syntactic computations.
Interconnected issues of cartography and locality will be addressed both in the adult grammar, and in language acquisition.
There is much to expect from a close integration of these domains, which can complement and strengthen each other in substantive ways. The acquisition component introduces important variations on the theoretical themes, thus crucially enriching the empirical basis of the theoretical component; reciprocally, the solid theoretical structure of the project will offer new explanatory dimensions and generate novel research questions for acquisition studies.
The “complementizer system” is one privileged locus where cartography and locality meet, as much of the movement action targets this zone of the syntactic tree. The research will then primarily focus on this area.
The project aims at opening new paths in
i. The “further explanation” of cartographic sequences and delimitation effects;
ii. The development of a full-fledged theory of syntactic movement, integrating cartographic studies with minimalist syntax;
iii. The exploration of a unified approach to intervention and impenetrability locality principles;
iv. An integrated study of locality in adults and children,
v. The study of the acquisition of cartographic structures.

Call for proposal

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Host institution

EU contribution
€ 2 344 818,00
1211 Geneve

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Genève
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Luigi Rizzi (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Alex Waehry (Dr.)
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (2)