A-bar movement

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In generative syntax, A-bar movement (or A ′-movement) is movement to an A-bar position (e.g. wh-movement). As is well known, unbounded dependencies are a characteristic property of A ′-movement (Huang et al., 2009). Constructions that have been shown to be derived by A ′-movement are typically labeled as “wh-movement” structures because they are well represented by wh-interrogative constructions in English.


The term was first used in the late 1980s.


a. A gap exists and has an A ′-antecedent.

b. The antecedent–gap relation can cross multiple clause boundaries – unbounded dependency.

c. The dependency relation is sensitive to locality conditions such as Subjacency and the Condition on Extraction Domain.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


Huang, C. T. J., Li, Y. H. A., & Li, Y. (2009). The syntax of Chinese (Vol. 10). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.