X-bar Theory

Linguistics 322

Intermediate Syntax

Another such theory is X-bar analysis. In the most popular version of this theory, it is assumed that there are three levels of phrases: XP, X-bar, and X. Even this level is controversial. There is evidence quickly gathering that the third level--the X-bar level-- is unwarranted. We shall examine this level here, and argue that it is not necessary. Two levels are adequate. These two levels are not necessarily distinct.

In the three level theory (X-bar) it is assumed that XP dominates a specifier and X-bar. X-bar, in turn, dominates the head of the projection (XP - X-bar - X) X and one or more complements of X. The subject is usually assigned to the specifier position. The specifier is some kind of a vague modifier. We see no reason for a select specifier position.

In the two level theory there is no specifier position. The modifier that is questionably assigned to it is adjoined to XP. The subject is an argument.. In the two-level analysis the subject is moved from a complement position of the verb and adjoined to some phrase. We will assume this view here, though we will note the three-level analysis as that is the theory adoptd by Radford.

Adjunction, then, has two functions--the position of modifiers and the position of moved arguments.

Go to x-bar theory (L222) for further discussion on x-bar theory.

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