Special Issue "New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 11910

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Peter Kosta
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Slavic languages and literatures, University of Potsdam, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany
Interests: generative syntax; universals; language typology; theory of language; formal semantics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The title "Minimalist program" is derived from Noam Chomsky's collection of our articles published in a book under the same title (Chomsky, Noam. 1995. The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.), one of which was written together with Howard Lasnik. The central property of minimalism is that it is a program, a collection of principles, and not an elaborate theory as such. As a result, minimalism is still changing and evolving. Part of this development includes various modified versions of the theory, which deviate from the basic structural principles of minimalism, either for empirical reasons (for analysis,  ↗nanosyntax is important), or for internal theoretical reasons (e.g., radical minimalism, see Krivochen and Kosta, 2013). The Minimalist Program has also been the subject of criticism since the late 1990s, cf. Johnson and Lappin (1997), as well as its response in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 18 (2000). For a general overview, cf. Uriagereka (1998), Grewendorf (2002), Adger (2003, 2013), Radford (2004), Hornstein and Nunes (2005), Lasnik and Uriagereka (2005), Boeckx (2006), Bošković and Lasnik (eds.) (2006). Part of the minimal search for the structure (minimal search) also includes the design of head features (labeling; Chomsky, 2013). Thus, the structure thus formed is not necessarily endocentric, but may also be exocentric if it is consistent with a given combination of features in the structure. The shift to structures based primarily on features, combined with the implementation of an approach to morphology, is associated with an increased interest in the study of macrovariations in syntactic structure. The fact that a syntactic head is not a syntactic primitive, but a structure that arises from a combination of features, means that individual languages ​​and dialects may differ, in which features are realized within one head. In this Special Issue, the newest developments regarding the theory and cartography of natural languages within the generative approach will be addressed by renowned specialists in this field.

Prof. Dr. Peter Kosta
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • minimalist program
  • government and binding theory
  • strong minimalist thesis
  • I-language
  • universal grammar
  • C-I- and SM-interfaces
  • nanosyntax and radical minimalism
  • features
  • valuation
  • labels

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Categories with Complements
Philosophies 2022, 7(5), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7050102 - 15 Sep 2022
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Verbs and nouns gear θ-dependencies, Case, agreement, or construal relations. Building on Chomsky’s 1974 decomposition of such categories into ±N, ±V features, by translating said features into ±1, ±i scalars that allow for the construction of a vector space, this paper studies [...] Read more.
Verbs and nouns gear θ-dependencies, Case, agreement, or construal relations. Building on Chomsky’s 1974 decomposition of such categories into ±N, ±V features, by translating said features into ±1, ±i scalars that allow for the construction of a vector space, this paper studies the possibility of organizing said features into 2 × 2 square matrices. In the system proposed to explore “head-complement” relations, operating on nouns yields a measurable/observable (Hermitian matrix), which in turn limits other potential combinations with abstract lexical categories. Functional/grammatical categories in the system deploy the same features, albeit organized differently in the matrix diagonal and off-diagonal. The algebraic result is a group with well-defined mathematical properties, which properly includes the Pauli group of standard use in quantum computation. In the system, the presumed difference between categories and interactions—here, in a context of the head-complement sort—reduces to whether the magnitude of the matrix eigenvalue is 1 or not, in the latter instance inducing asymmetric interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
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Article
Complex Cardinal Numerals and the Strong Minimalist Thesis
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040081 - 16 Jul 2022
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Different analyses of complex cardinal numerals have been proposed in Generative Grammar. This article provides an analysis of these expressions based on the Strong Minimalist Thesis, according to which the derivations of linguistic expressions are generated by a simple combinatorial operation, applying in [...] Read more.
Different analyses of complex cardinal numerals have been proposed in Generative Grammar. This article provides an analysis of these expressions based on the Strong Minimalist Thesis, according to which the derivations of linguistic expressions are generated by a simple combinatorial operation, applying in accord with principles external to the language faculty. The proposed derivations account for the asymmetrical structure of additive and multiplicative complexes and for the instructions they provide to the external systems for their interpretation. They harmonize with those of coordinate nouns, and thus offer a unified Minimalist account of their core properties. Firstly, the empirical problem addressed is stated. Secondly, the theoretical framework is presented. Thirdly, Minimalist derivations for additive and multiplicative complexes are provided. Fourthly, the proposed derivations are contrasted with derivations not relying on the Strong Minimalist Thesis. Lastly, consequences for linguistic theory are identified as well as questions open to further inquiry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
From Prolepsis to Hyperraising
Philosophies 2022, 7(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7020032 - 16 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1311
Abstract
Case, agreement, and A-movement dependencies across finite clause boundaries, such as Hyperraising (to subject or object) or Long-Distance Case or Agreement [LDA], are available in many typologically diverse languages. The research on such dependencies typically distinguishes between cross-linguistically restricted true A-dependencies across finite [...] Read more.
Case, agreement, and A-movement dependencies across finite clause boundaries, such as Hyperraising (to subject or object) or Long-Distance Case or Agreement [LDA], are available in many typologically diverse languages. The research on such dependencies typically distinguishes between cross-linguistically restricted true A-dependencies across finite clauses, and generally available binding-like A-dependencies as found in Prolepsis. In this paper, we investigate both types of configurations in parallel and refer to this as the A-domain. Since the diagnostics to distinguish A-configurations vary across languages and often cannot be compared directly, we define four characteristic properties: (A) whether the construction is restricted by matrix predicate selection, (B) whether movement in the embedded clause is involved, (C) whether the dependency shows locality restrictions (in particular, A-Minimality), and (D) whether there are semantic restrictions on the relevant DP. By combining different values of the characteristic properties, we show, differently from previous approaches, that the A-domain does not simply consist of two types of configurations, but that the empirical landscape represents a continuum of five A-constructions. We suggest a theoretical implementation of our empirical findings, which is built on a predicational relator phrase above the embedded CP and propose that, in some of the constructions, these two projections fuse into one. We employ a minimalist probing approach which relies on differences in the base-generated position of the relevant DP (matrix clause, high in the embedded clause, argument position in the embedded clause), differences in the feature composition of the embedded C (a plain A-head, or a bundled predicational C head involving composite A/A probes), a composite probe hierarchy yielding three types of feature-dependencies of composite probes, and, resulting from that, different probing mechanisms (conjunctive satisfaction, dependent satisfaction, and independent satisfaction). Lastly, this paper also contributes methodological tools for disentangling constructions of the A-domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
Voice Syncretism Crosslinguistically: The View from Minimalism
Philosophies 2022, 7(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7010019 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1036
Abstract
Voice syncretism is widely attested crosslinguistically. In this paper, we discuss three different types of Voice syncretism, under which the same morpheme participates in different configurations. We provide an approach under which the same Voice head can convey different interpretations depending on the [...] Read more.
Voice syncretism is widely attested crosslinguistically. In this paper, we discuss three different types of Voice syncretism, under which the same morpheme participates in different configurations. We provide an approach under which the same Voice head can convey different interpretations depending on the environment it appears in, thus building on the notion of allosemy. We show that, in all cases under investigation, allosemy is closely associated with the existence of idiosyncratic patterns. By contrast, we notice that allosemy and idiosyncrasy are not present in analytic passive and causative constructions across different languages. We argue that the distinguishing feature between the two types of constructions is whether the passive and the causative interpretation comes from the Voice head, thus forming a single domain with the vP or whether passive and causative semantics are realized by distinct heads above the Voice layer, thus forming two distinct domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
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Article
On the Limits of Across-the-Board Movement: Distributed Extraction Coordinations
Philosophies 2022, 7(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7010010 - 22 Jan 2022
Viewed by 858
Abstract
The paper examines distributed extraction coordinations, in which different elements move out of conjuncts of a single coordination, as in Which book and which magazine did Mary buy and Amy read respectively, from a crosslinguistic perspective. A number of properties of such [...] Read more.
The paper examines distributed extraction coordinations, in which different elements move out of conjuncts of a single coordination, as in Which book and which magazine did Mary buy and Amy read respectively, from a crosslinguistic perspective. A number of properties of such coordinations are discussed, which includes showing that they are also subject to the ATB requirement, which will shed light on the nature of the ATB phenomenon itself. It is also shown that there is a rather strong restriction on distributed extractions which confines such extractions to one context and completely excludes one type of movement, in particular head-movement, from participating in them. The higher coordination is shown to be formed during the derivation and to be semantically expletive. Distributed extraction constructions are also shown to have consequences for the proper analysis of a number of phenomena, including subject-oriented anaphors, right node raising, tough-constructions, agreement, and clausal structure. Regarding subject-oriented anaphors, the paper teases apart different approaches to subject-oriented anaphors based on constructions where different elements fill SpecvP and SpecTP (the latter undergoes agreement with T and the former binds subject-oriented anaphors). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
Object Coreference in German: The Reflexive sich as a Problem for Derivational Approaches to Binding
Philosophies 2022, 7(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7010005 - 08 Jan 2022
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Despite Grewendorf’s well-known German binding data with the double-object verb zeigen ‘show’, where one object reflexively binds the other and which suggests that the direct object (DO) is generated higher than the indirect object (IO), this paper argues for the canonical surface order [...] Read more.
Despite Grewendorf’s well-known German binding data with the double-object verb zeigen ‘show’, where one object reflexively binds the other and which suggests that the direct object (DO) is generated higher than the indirect object (IO), this paper argues for the canonical surface order of IO > DO as base order. We highlight the exceptional status of Grewendorf’s examples, build on scope facts as well as a quantitative acceptability rating study, and exploit the fact that zeigen can also be used as inherently reflexive with idiomatic meaning. Appealing to the base configuration of the pieces of idiomatic expressions and considering different Spell-Out possibilities of coreferential objects in German, we show that the case, number, and gender underspecification of the anaphor sich poses a previously unnoticed problem for derivational approaches to binding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
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Article
Agreeing and Moving across Traces: On Why Lower Copies May Be Transparent or Opaque
Philosophies 2022, 7(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7010003 - 24 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 883
Abstract
Within Minimalism, traces are often taken to be transparent for agreement and movement across them, which raises the question of how this could be properly accounted for within the copy theory of movement. This paper examines wh-traces in multiple wh-questions and [...] Read more.
Within Minimalism, traces are often taken to be transparent for agreement and movement across them, which raises the question of how this could be properly accounted for within the copy theory of movement. This paper examines wh-traces in multiple wh-questions and argues that traces (lower copies) may or may not induce intervention effects depending on whether or not they are fully specified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
Undoing Wh-Movement: On the Need for Multiple Copies
Philosophies 2021, 6(4), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6040099 - 02 Dec 2021
Viewed by 879
Abstract
This contribution presents an outline of the current scholarly discussion of reconstruction with wh-movement, focussing on the Lebeaux Effect (LE) and wider aspects of reconstruction with wh-movement. It presents empirical problems for both the proposals based on the LE and the novel account [...] Read more.
This contribution presents an outline of the current scholarly discussion of reconstruction with wh-movement, focussing on the Lebeaux Effect (LE) and wider aspects of reconstruction with wh-movement. It presents empirical problems for both the proposals based on the LE and the novel account of movement and reconstruction based on the notion of Minimal Copy. It points out that particular copies may differ not only in size (i.e., they do or do not include the adjunct as a relative clause or PP) but also in content. It refers to an analysis, where copies left by movement are levelled with copies left by ellipsis and subject to the mechanism of Vehicle Change. An account of reconstruction including multiple copies and Vehicle Change predicts that the structural complexity of the wh-phrase and its distance from the offending c-commanding pronoun (embedding and obviation effects) should contribute to an amelioration of Condition C in addition to the LE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
The Strong Minimalist Thesis
Philosophies 2021, 6(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6040097 - 29 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1006
Abstract
This article reviews and attempts to evaluate the various proposals for a strong minimalist thesis that have been at the core of the minimalist program for linguistic theory since its inception almost three decades ago. These proposals have involved legibility conditions for the [...] Read more.
This article reviews and attempts to evaluate the various proposals for a strong minimalist thesis that have been at the core of the minimalist program for linguistic theory since its inception almost three decades ago. These proposals have involved legibility conditions for the interface between language and the cognitive systems that access it, the simplest computational operation Merge (its form and function), and principles of computational efficiency (including inclusiveness, no-tampering, cyclic computation, and the deletion of copies). This evaluation attempts to demonstrate that reliance on interface conditions encounters serious long-standing problems for the analysis of language. It also suggests that the precise formulation of Merge may, in fact, subsume the effects of those principles of efficient computation currently under investigation and might possibly render unnecessary proposals for additional structure building operations (e.g., Pair-Merge and FormSequence). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
The Extended Merge Hypothesis and the Fundamental Principle of Grammar
Philosophies 2021, 6(4), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6040089 - 20 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1015
Abstract
This paper discusses the main minimalist theory within the Minimalist Program, something I dub the (Weak) Merge Hypothesis (MH). (1) The (Weak) Merge Hypothesis (MH): Merge is a central G operation. I suggest that we extend (1) by adding to it a general [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the main minimalist theory within the Minimalist Program, something I dub the (Weak) Merge Hypothesis (MH). (1) The (Weak) Merge Hypothesis (MH): Merge is a central G operation. I suggest that we extend (1) by adding to it a general principle that I dub the Fundamental Principle of Grammar (FPG). (2) The Fundamental Principle of Grammar (FPG): α and β can be grammatically related. (G-related) only if α and β have merged. Adding (1) and (2) gives us the Strong Merge Hypothesis. (3) The Strong Merge Hypothesis (SMH): All grammatical dependencies are mediated by Merge. SMH has some interesting consequences which the rest of the paper briefly reviews. Highlights include the Movement Theory of Construal, The Periscope Property on selection, as well as preserving the standard results from the Weak Merge Hypothesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
Lexicalised Locality: Local Domains and Non-Local Dependencies in a Lexicalised Tree Adjoining Grammar
Philosophies 2021, 6(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6030070 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1223
Abstract
Contemporary generative grammar assumes that syntactic structure is best described in terms of sets, and that locality conditions, as well as cross-linguistic variation, is determined at the level of designated functional heads. Syntactic operations (merge, MERGE, etc.) build a structure by deriving sets [...] Read more.
Contemporary generative grammar assumes that syntactic structure is best described in terms of sets, and that locality conditions, as well as cross-linguistic variation, is determined at the level of designated functional heads. Syntactic operations (merge, MERGE, etc.) build a structure by deriving sets from lexical atoms and recursively (and monotonically) yielding sets of sets. Additional restrictions over the format of structural descriptions limit the number of elements involved in each operation to two at each derivational step, a head and a non-head. In this paper, we will explore an alternative direction for minimalist inquiry based on previous work, e.g., Frank (2002, 2006), albeit under novel assumptions. We propose a view of syntactic structure as a specification of relations in graphs, which correspond to the extended projection of lexical heads; these are elementary trees in Tree Adjoining Grammars. We present empirical motivation for a lexicalised approach to structure building, where the units of the grammar are elementary trees. Our proposal will be based on cross-linguistic evidence; we will consider the structure of elementary trees in Spanish, English and German. We will also explore the consequences of assuming that nodes in elementary trees are addresses for purposes of tree composition operations, substitution and adjunction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
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