The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 24

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 24, No. 0, pp. 155-174
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2024
Received 06 Feb 2024 Revised 27 Feb 2024 Accepted 05 Mar 2024

Locative Inversion, Unergatives, and Backward Control
Kwang-sup Kim
Professor, Dept. of English, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Tel: 031-330-4294 (

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It is usually accepted that if a verb assigns an external theta role, it does not allow Locative Inversion (LI). However, this paper claims that even unergatives permit LI if (i) they assign an internal theta role as well as an external theta role, (ii) the two theta roles are assigned to the identical phrases that form the relation Copy in the sense of Chomsky (2021), and (iii) the external argument undergoes backward ellipsis. In this approach, deletion of the higher copy follows from Chomsky’s (2013, 2015) Labeling Algorithm. Chomsky (2013, 2015) claims that the constituent in SPEC-v* gives rise to labeling failure, which can be fixed if it raises to SPEC-T. This study shows that subject raising is not the only way to remove the constituent in SPEC- v*. It can be deleted when it forms the relation Copy with an internal argument. In short, Unergative Inversion as well as Unaccusative Inversion is permitted in English, and it is a kind of backward control in the sense that the higher copy undergoes backward ellipsis.

Keywords: locative inversion, labeling, backward ellipsis, backward control, quotative inversion, light inversion, heavy inversion


This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2021S1A5A2A01061570) and the research fund (2024) of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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