The Merge Condition

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This paper proposes that morphological selection and subcategorization are derived from conditions on Merge, specifically the claim that Merge is only possible when it leads to feature valuation, which I argue takes place under Reverse Agree. The Merge Condition, together with a Reverse Agree mechanism, allows us to unify different types of selection and provides a strictly local and derivational mechanism for structure building which does not require recourse to special selector features or separate notions of (lexical) selection. I provide an explicit feature system encoding the selectional properties of verbs and a detailed account of clausal complementation structures in English and German. The system offers a new way of deriving verb second configurations, doubly filled Comp effects, the distribution of T–to–C movement, as well as the syntactically restricted behavior of embedded root clauses.


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