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Theoretical Syntax

Beginning date : 2020

End Date : 2023

Short description

Symmetry constitutes a crucial notion in many natural domains and so does in the architecture of human language including syntax. The aim of this research project is to highlight both the theoretical implications and the heuristic and explanatory force of this notion: the role of symmetry in the overall architecture of grammar (including, more specifically, movement, locality, labelling, and predication) and the relevant properties of different constructions will be analyzed in detail by adopting a formal perspective, in particular a Dynamic Antisymmetry framework. Data will be obtained by adopting a comparative analysis both diatopically and diachronically with a particular emphasis on Ancient Greek and Latin.



This research project focuses on the notion of symmetry in syntax and aims at highlighting the role that this crucial notion has in several subdomains of this field, including both theoretical and empirical issues, such as: movement, labeling, linearization, locality, predication, phase theory and the existence of symmetrical structures like, for example, canonical and inverse copular constructions, expletive constructions (in particular, existential and quasi-copular sentences), the so called “was-für split” constructions in Germanic and Romance languages, nominal inversions with epithets, constructions with polarity items, tough-constructions, synecdochal accusative constructions, and compounds (Including the karmadhāraya and bahuvrīhi types in Sanskrit). The project adopts a formal framework which includes both generative grammar, more specifically Dynamic Antisymmetry theory within the minimalist framework, and typological notions in a cross-linguistic perspective, focusing on modern as well as ancient (Latin, Greek, Sanskrit) Indo European languages, both in a synchronic and diachronic view. Given the centrality of the notion of symmetry, we dubbed this project “Symmetry in Syntax” (SYmSYn). 


Involved persons

Principal Investigator: Prof. Andrea Moro.
Other members of NEtS: Ph.D. Matteo Greco, Dott. Davide Mocci.