Taiwan Journal of Linguistics

A Diamond Open Access Journal (free to authors and readers)
ISSN: 1729-4649 (print); 1994-2559 (online)


Truscott, John
The paper explores the possibility that English syntax includes a particular sort of non-overt (occult) element, corresponding to the overt links that have been identified as very general elements in the languages of the world, serving the function of connecting elements to the head of the phrase in which they appear. Evidence is presented that occult links are ubiquitous, occurring in all the major phrase types of English, including at least NP, VP, AP, AdvP, PP, and QP, and exerting a strong influence on the form of these phrases. The effects consist of constraints on the types of phrases that can appear in pre-head positions, the frequent need for certain components of pre-head phrases to be extraposed, and the impossibility of extracting items from pre-head positions. These phenomena can be explained if one hypothesizes occult links in the types of positions in which overt links occur, with properties that overt links are known to have.