Analysis of NP Movement constraints on English passives
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This paper investigates the movement of the English passive constructions in the framework of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1993) and aims to summarize the common feature of the promoted NP and find out the trigger of movement in English passives. It mainly discusses three types of English passives derived from active clauses of mono-transitive verbs, of intransitive verbs with PP complements and of ditransitive verbs. By checking these structures, it is found that the promoted NPs share the semantic feature of affectedness. Furthermore, if there is more than one NP that is possible to be promoted, the most affected one is selected. By referring to the Chinese bei-construction, it is proposed that the promoted NPs in English passives are also locus of affect like pre-bei expressions in bei-construction. Thus, the domain of affectedness is enlarged to involve delimitedness and this helps to explain the instances that the subjects in English passives are not affected physically. Moreover, it is assumed that the strength of the features on T is associated with the affectedness on NPs and only the most affected NPs in the event can be promoted.