Bailyn – Theories of scrambling

Handout Day 1

Handout Day 2

Handout Day 3

Handout Day 4

Handout Day 5


Grewendorf-Sabel 1999

More readings (6 papers in a zip)


Scrambling is a term, originally from Ross (1967), used to describe the derivation of alternative word order patterns. In this 1-week course, we will take a look back at various theories of Scrambling, ideally one per day (maybe sometimes more if we have time, which seems unlikely, but you never know). In each case we will look closely at the empirical coverage each one claims to have, its theoretical advantages and shortcomings, and its status in the current literature.

During the course of the discussion we will encounter several kinds of theoretical issues in theories of scrambling (kind of movement involved, effect on binding, effect on scope, motivation, optionality,…), which will serve to inform and narrow (or broaden) the continuing discussion.  In the end we will of course converge on the “right” theory, which coincidentally, happens to be mine, though based in part on Rizzi (2004).  J


Theory 1: Scrambling as freely available movement and the A vs A’ debate (Mahajan 1990, Webelhuth 1989; Saito 1989, 1992, 2003, Fukui 1993)

Theory 2: Scrambling as feature-driven movement, kinds of scrambling languages, and the issue of optionality (Grewendorf & Sabel 1999, Kawamura 2004) (ideally with discussion of Takahashi 1993 if there’s time)

Theory 3: Scrambling without movement and the issue of constituency and constraints (Neelemann 1994, van Gelderen 1995, Bošković & Takahashi 1998, Titov 2013)

Theory 4: The PUB theory and Scrambling vs WH-movement (Müller & Sternefeld 1993)

Theory 5: The Relativized Minimality Theory (Rizzi 2004, Bailyn 2018)