Branan, Kenyon and Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, 2020.
“Ā-probing for the closest DP.”
Manuscript, National University of Singapore.
We consider the typology of attested Ā-extraction asymmetries between core argument DPs and its consequences for the nature of probing. In particular, we question whether an Ā-probe can be required to specifically target the closest accessible DP. Such an Ā-probe specification is part of the influential Aldridge 2004, 2008 analysis of syntactically ergative extraction restrictions, but has not been widely adopted outside of work on ergative languages. In a non-ergative language, we expect the availability of such a probe to result in a subject-only Ā-extraction restriction. We reassess the evidence from asymmetries in relativization, especially Keenan and Comrie 1977, and provide new, stronger evidence for the existence of Ā-extraction limited to the closest DP argument, in non-ergative languages. We conclude that Ā-probes indeed can be specified to target the closest accessible DP and discuss analytical choices for their implementation.