Toward a strongly derivational syntax

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Pointing out several undesirable consequences that Merge gives rise to in the mainstream minimalist approach to phrase structure, a strongly derivational model is developed that dispenses with the narrow syntactic Merge operation. Representations and recursion are argued to be properties of the interface components only, and to be absent from narrow syntax. Transfer, implementing feature checking in a local fashion and instructing interface computations, is defined as an iterative operation mapping Lexical Items to the interface components directly. In lack of Merge, narrow syntactic overgeneration is eliminated in toto, since no narrow syntactic representations are created and filtering of Transfer operations by the interface modules is immediate. It is argued that of the twin (overlapping) objectives of making syntax crash-proof and restricting syntactic overgeneration, only the latter is of relevance to the architecture of grammar.


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