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Questions tagged [minimalism]

Minimalism or Minimalist program (MP) is a major line of inquiry that has been developing inside generative grammar since the early 1990s, starting with a 1993 paper by Noam Chomsky.

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Feature values [+/- interpretable], how these values are set?

In Minimalist Program (Chomsky, 1995) and in Derivation by Phase (DbP) (Chomsky, 2000, 2005, 2008), call it Phase Theory, features enter narrow syntax with predefined values, these values are binary (-...
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Problem with [NOMINATIVE] Case in GB & Phase Theory (MP)

Most of works on case theory in generative syntax GB (Vergnaud, 1985; Chomsky, 1981, 1986, among others) and in MP (Chomsky, 1995, et seq; Gallego, 2010; Hornstein, 2011, among others) assume the ...
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How often is MP taught by teaching GB first?

When a student starts learning syntax,1 how common is it to first teach them GB (or a stripped-down, GB-flavored approach), and then teach MP once they've got the hang of it? This was obviously the ...
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Question on move operation

I'm learning about minimalism at the moment. I'm not sure if I understand the move operation. I think I understand that in English the move operation takes place when you want to formulate a question....
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Minimalism - a question about a property of merge operation

Does anyone know what would it mean that the merge operation is asymmetrical? Would this mean that the order of merged objects is important?
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What is configurational case assignment?

How does it differ with inherent case? I found this definition from Maria Polinsky and Omer Preminger paper; Noun phrases are assigned case by virtue of their structural position relative to certain ...
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Which is the most accepted case theory from a generative syntax perspective?

I've read about different theories but now I'm kind of confused between the different theories and the differences between structural case, non-structural, lexical/morphological case, inherent case, ...
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How do we set comparative adverbs, from expressions like “more than x” on the syntax tree?

I'm trying to figure something out from Portuguese, but if you can answer me that based on English, it will help a lot. Thanks.
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Why passive light v is defective?

In Chomsky (2000,2001), the passive, along with unaccusative and other forms of participle object constructions, with the light v is considered 'defective' because as Chomsky (2001:6) says: light v of ...
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Why is there no D-structure or S-structure within Minimalism

Government and Binding introduces D-structure and S-structure as two distinct levels of representation, however, this changed within the Minimalist Program. Could someone explain or point me in the ...
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Isn't postulating Spell-Out resurrecting the old notion of Surface Structure?

The key distinction, where Spell-Out is a point in the derivation rather than a true level of representation is still rather obscure to me. Can you explain why Spell-Out is something different, ...
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Are there any empirical arguments for eliminating 'Deep Structure' in Minimalist Syntax?

For reasons of Economy & Parsimony, The Minimalist Program discards Deep Structure (DS) because it’s not a linguistic level. The main reasons for eliminating DS were based on ‘conceptual grounds’ (...
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What is the difference between vPs and v*Ps?

Why do I sometimes come across a label like v* instead of v in the literature? As I understood, it is the same thing.
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What is the difference between successive-cyclic wh-movement and long-distance wh-movement?

I am concerned with movement spanning the barrier between two clauses, such as: What did John say [CP that Mary will buy __]? or What did John say [CP will Mary buy __]? //with the same meaning as ...
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AdvP Merged in Spec XP or Adjoined to XP

Radford (2011) merges AdvPs in the specifiers of the phrases that they modify. What are the advantages of such an analysis over augmented XPs (AdvP adjoined to XP)? If I'm not mistaken, specifiers ...
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What is the modern conception of the syntactic structure of a possessive?

I'm trying to find modern work (more modern than Abney 1987) on the structure of a genitive phrase. Abney has a possessive phrase, like my dog, headed by a D head which assigns genitive case to "my," ...
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Types of adjuncts - What can be adjoined to what and why?

In generative grammar, more specifically in GB and Minimalism, what are the possible types of adjuncts we can have and to which other categories can they be adjoined. E.g.: the man [next to him] many ...
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Syntactic Analysis of Spoken data,

I am conducting research on spoken data, to collect the data and analyze it syntactically like to see the null constitutes etc. The question is, what could be the suitable model or framework for it
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Copulas and theta roles

Hi I was wondering if and if so which theta roles are being discharged to the DPs/NPs in sentences such as "these are French men". Also I was asking myself what kind of structure one would give to ...
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The Minimalist Program and Features

In MP, constituents move as a last resort in order to get certain features checked. For example, subjects in English move from within the predicate of a sentence to SpecIP in order to get its strong ...
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How can merge produce grammatical strings if mathematical sets do not have an order?

Merge takes two elements and combines them into a set. Say it takes a DP "Luke" and a V "run". We can then define a VP by going merge(DP,V) = {DP,V} "Luke run". But since sets are un-ordered, {DP,V} = ...
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What features cause Head Movement?

Suppose a head, T, moves to C. In the minimalist program, what features cause the movement of that head? I've been looking at literature on head movement but all I can find is papers on arguments for ...
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Does a copied syntactic object have to c-command what it was copied from?

I think this is the case but I can't find any sources saying so. Mind helping me out? I know Internal Merge necessarily guarantees that a copied syntactic object c-commands its lower copies, but the ...
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Head to head movement and features in Minimalism

Consider 2 heads a and b. b moves to head a. Does the feature [X] get on a1 by virtue of b merging to a2 by head movement? Is this kind of feature percolation still allowed in the Minimalist program?...
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How does the view that theta-roles are features work exactly? For example, in Hornstein 1999 Movement and Control

Hornstein 1999 says that theta-roles are features on verbs and a DP receives a theta-role by checking a theta-feature of a VP that it merges with. How would this be represented in a syntactic tree? ...
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Where are clitics initially Merged in Italian?

I'm trying to port Cardinaletti & Shlonsky's analysis of Italian clitic placement1 to the Minimalist framework for a term paper. The course is based on Adger's textbook2 which mostly focuses on ...
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What languages have been documented using Minimalism?

I'm interested in having a few references to (more of less) full grammars of natural languages that would be written under Minimalist approach. Are there any around? I guess, accounts of some major ...
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Has Ray Jackendoff's Parallel Architecture paradigm received a formal review or criticism(s) from Chomsky and/or others?

Ray Jackendoff, a theoretical linguist and cognitive scientist at Tufts University, has been developing his theory of the linguistic Parallel Architecture since departing from the narrow syntactic ...
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Why is 'internal Merge' possible at all in a theory that rests on Economy and Strict Cyclicity?

In his March 2014 MIT lectures, Chomsky continues to claim that 'internal Merge', which yields the traditionally problematic 'displacement' property, is, in fact, the simplest and most economical ...
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Alternative subject positions in Spanish questions, economy and markedness

The following six Spanish sentences are different versions of the question/different questions corresponding to the unmarked declarative sentence Alguien más podría haber estado usando su ordenador (= ...
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Are Spanish “que” clauses following “parece” complements or postponed subjects?

The Spanish equivalent of It seems that they hate each other is Parece que se odian. In both languages seem/parecer are one-place predicates (well, both can optionally accept a second argument with ...
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Isn´t there a contradiction between 'feature-checking' and 'no tampering'?

I have always perceived an inherent contradiction between Chomsky's 'no tampering' idea and ANY version of Merge (or any Merge-like operation) driven - under the principle of Economy - by the need for ...
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What empirical evidence can be produced that all syntactic structure is binary branching?

A tenet of the Minimalist Program is that all syntactic structure is binary branching. Merge always merges two constituents to a greater constituent until the greatest constituent, the sentence, is ...
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What is minimalist about the minimalist program?

The minimalist program seems to be very fashionable amongst linguists at present, but for the life of me I can't understand its appeal. As far as I can see - and I've read my fair share of the ...
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Theta-role Assignment in Infinitival Clauses

I'm finding it difficult to figure this out in sentences like the following: a) I have a job to do. b) I need you to go. Surely, "have" and "need" assign theta-roles to "a job" and "you" ...
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How is T-subject agreement realized on a verb in minimalist syntax?

Consider the derivation of John eats the apples. (1) [CP C [TP John T [v*P John v*-eats [VP eat [DP the apples]]]]] [uφ] [φ] [uφ] [φ] The bracket ...
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Are there more languages with complex system of interrogative pronouns?

By 'complex system' I mean a system of interrogative pronouns which includes more than just 'animate/inanimate' classes of prounouns, like these of 'who' and 'what' in English (e.g. a special ...
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Does MP model generation or comprehension?

Is the basic architecture of the minimalist program, with its numeration and various interfaces, meant to model how language is comprehended or how it is generated? Or is it supposed to be abstract ...
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What are the motivations for which direction syntactic trees are built in (top down or bottom up)?

When I learned x-bar theory, there seemed to be an implicit assumption that trees were built top-down, from IP or CP to the VP and its complement, etc. However, as I am learning more about Minimalism (...
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Difference between Minimalism and old P&P

What are the differences between the old Principles and Parameters approach and the developing Minimalist Program? As I understand it, though the MP is just a framework for developing theories in, in ...
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Verb-attraction parameter in Portuguese

Prof. John McWorther, in his course on Linguistics, said, in a lecture about principles and parameters: "if a language is pro-drop, the verb attraction parameter is always set on. If a language isn't ...