Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 22, 2014

Deriving Feature Inheritance from the Copy Theory of Movement

Ángel J. Gallego
From the journal The Linguistic Review


This paper recasts Chomsky's (2007, 2008) Feature Inheritance, arguing that the syntactic relation between phase heads and non-phase heads must be regarded as that of identity: Non-phase heads are (copies of) phase heads. From this perspective, e.g., C and T are one and the very same unit in the lexicon, a unit that can (and sometimes must) undergo a process of Internal Merge (IM) during the derivation, creating a discontinuous object (i.e., a non-trivial chain) that gives rise to the – apparent – non-phase head / phase head distinction. The analysis has several consequences. Firstly, it provides an explanation for the fact that the features of phases heads are inherited by non-phase heads (under a copy-based approach, this is simply automatic). Secondly, it accounts for the functioning of phase and non-phase heads `as a unit' in the Case-agreement systems (as argued by Chomsky 2004, Epstein et al. 2012). Thirdly, since non-phase heads are copies of phase heads, it also follows that they need not be seen as feature-less elements in the lexicon (as mere feature receptacles, cf. Richards 2007). Fourthly, this approach allows us to dispense with the idea that either C and T trigger simultaneous operations (Chomsky 2008), or that the operations triggered by T are actually driven by C (derivatively); this is welcome, since both alternatives involve a restricted (phase-based) margin of countercyclicity. Finally, the present analysis makes it possible to dispense with Feature Inheritance, understood as a brandnew, UG enriching, feature-depriving mechanism. Rejecting this commonly accepted view of Feature Inheritance takes into account the problems attributed to feature-movement in the syntax (Chomsky's 1995 Move F).

Published Online: 2014-3-22
Published in Print: 2014-3-1

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