The Empty Left Edge Condition

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Argument drop is commonly subject to the Empty Left Edge Condition, ELEC, requiring that the left edge of the clause not be spelled out. ELEC can be explained in terms of minimality, as an intervention effect (blocking context-linking of the null-argument). We argue that sensitivity to this effect is the most important ‘pro drop parametric’ factor and that there are no inherent or lexical differences between ‘different types’ of null-arguments. However, we also present striking evidence from Icelandic that emptiness conditions of this sort are operative in PF, a conclusion that suggests that much of ‘syntax’ in the traditional sense is actually morphosyntax or ‘PF syntax’, invisible to the semantic interface. If so, derivational crashes may occur (in the PF derivation), even though narrow syntax itself is crash-proof.


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