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The Linguistic Review

Editor-in-Chief: van der Hulst, Harry

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Volume 33, Issue 1


Labeling, maximality and the head – phrase distinction

Luigi Rizzi
Published Online: 2015-12-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2015-0016


Combining the labeling algorithm of Chomsky (2013) with bare phrase structure raises the question of how heads (simple or complex) and phrases can be distinguished. I propose a notational device which draws the distinction in a way which solves technical problems for the labeling algorithm. Focusing on phrasal movement, I show how the “halting problem” for wh-movement, and in particular the freezing effects arising in criterial positions, can be derived from labeling and a maximality principle, restricting movement to maximal elements with a given label. Looking then at head movement, I argue that it can be made consistent with the No Tampering condition, and work out the labeling algorithm for structures derived by head movement. Finally, I argue that the ban against excorporation in head movement can be analyzed as a case of freezing, and traced back, much as freezing in phrasal movement, to the maximality principle relativized to the head – phrase distinction.

Keywords: Syntax; Labeling; Freezing; Head Movement; Maximality


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-12-05

Published in Print: 2016-02-01

Funding: This research was supported by the ERC Advanced Grant 340297 SynCart.

Citation Information: The Linguistic Review, Volume 33, Issue 1, Pages 103–127, ISSN (Online) 1613-3676, ISSN (Print) 0167-6318, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2015-0016.

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