The locus of the syntactic variation discussed in this book is the clause periphery – i.e. that part of the structure on the left edge of the clause, preceding the subject. More specifically, the book discusses the position occupied by a range of peripheral constituents and how they get there, dealing with topics in Chapter 2, complementisers in Chapter 3 and how come in Chapter 4. Since the research reported in Chapters 2–4 requires a good understanding of the syntax of the clause periphery, I use this chapter to present an overview of a range of approaches to the syntax of the clause periphery in research over the past 60 years or so. In §1.2, I look at how peripheral material was treated in the S-analysis of clause structure in work in the 1950s and 1960s, before turning to examine S'- and S“-analyses in work in the 1970s. In §1.3, I go on to outline the CP-analysis of the periphery in work in the 1980s, and the use of CP recursion to handle structures containing multiple peripheral constituents. In §1.4, I discuss the rationale for positing a more articulated structure for the periphery in cartographic work from the 1990s on. In §1.5 I look at the structure of defective clauses which have a truncated periphery.
S-, S'- and S“-analyses
In early work in generative grammar in the 1950s and 1960s (e.g. Chomsky 1955, 1957, 1964, 1965, 1966; Lees 1960; Rosenbaum 1965, 1967; Ross 1967) clauses were taken to be S-constituents generated by a phrase structure rule such as S → NP AUX VP (Chomsky 1965: 68) which can be seen in contemporary terms as specifying that S is formed by merging (i.e. combining) NP, AUX and VP. Peripheral constituents preceding the subject were generally treated as being introduced by transformations positioning them on the left edge of S. For example, complementisers (in the analysis of Rosenbaum 1967) were absent from the underlying structure, and inserted on the left edge of S via a Complementiser Placement transformation.