Tense affixes used to be analysed to have moved downwards from T to V in English.

Is this analysis still current? Do minimalists still analyse it like this?

  • No, it is very "passé" - when I was in grad school in 2006-2009, we didn't even talk about it, I read about it later myself in the Fromkin textbook - quite dated now. In MP, tense is an uninterpretable feature on v [uInfl:] that gets its value via Agree from T iff v is the head of T's sister (see e.g. Adger 2003, 5.5.4 Tense chains, pp. 192-194.
    – Alex B.
    Commented Jul 24, 2021 at 0:49
  • 2
    Affix hopping is now a TECO macro in the Smithsonian.
    – jlawler
    Commented Jul 24, 2021 at 13:55
  • I think a specialist in Distributed Morphology should comment or answer here. I know something similar to affix hopping, i.e. lowering, exists in that framework. Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


Chomsky’s original formulation is obsolete, if only because lexical integrity of some sort is usually assumed. But there are many languages in which suffixes or clitics are part of a constituent that doesn’t contain their governor (in the sense of dependency grammar). In some languages a more appropriate term would be clitic hopping but the principle is the same. In fact this is where the mismatch between phrase structure grammar and dependency grammar becomes clearly apparent.

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