Phase Theory and Phase Sliding

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This chapter reviews the core aspects of Chomsky&#8217;s <i>Phase Theory</i>, paying special attention to the notion of phase (the current counterpart of cycles, barriers, and bounding nodes), the different <i>criteria</i> that have been invoked to characterize them, the data that have been used to argue for them, and the arguments that have been used to criticize them. I will pursue a formal definition of phase, where transfer domains emerge as a consequence of &#981;-feature valuation, semantic and phonologic properties (e.g., propositionality, isolability) being thus conceived as <i>consequences</i>, instead of triggers. The second part of the chapter explores the posibility that (some instances of) <i>head movement</i> have an effect on the way syntactic domains are transferred. I refer to this possibility as <i>Phase Sliding</i>, a name intended to cover differen proposals that go back to empirical findings in the eighties. The final part of the chapter is devoted to a consideration of what den Dikken (2007) calls <i>Phase Extension</i>, a device that, though apparently similar to Phase Sliding, is not only different, but also incompatible with Chomsky&#8217;s conception of phases.


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