A Dilemma with Accounts of Right-node Raising

Bradley Larson

There is a dilemma in current studies of right-node raising (RNR): The main approaches to the construction make fundamentally contradictory predictions that account for overlapping sets of data points. In this paper I argue that no single current analysis can account for the range of data and argue against the possibility that the analyses work in concert to account for the data. That is, given that current analyses each account for some but not the entirety of the documented data, there are two logical possibilities: 1) None of the analyses are correct. 2) More than one analysis is correct in its limited purview and duties are shared such that all the data is accounted for. I argue for the former.

Under the second option introduced above, RNR is derived either by means of one particular operation or a different one. That is, the term “right-node raising” is better seen as a surface-level description for a family of derivations: some stemming from an application of the first operation, the others via the second (as argued by Barros and Vicente (2010)). If this were the case it would be a sharp departure from the assumptions of most work in RNR and require critical investigation. When investigated further, there turns out to be no motivation to analyze RNR as being derived in two entirely separate ways. This being the case, the RNR dilemma remains.