UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 12 (2000)

On the status of representations and derivations


I reargue the point here that current mixed theories of syntax that involve both derivations and representations are redundant and in principle less restrictive than their pure representational or pure derivational equivalents. Next I show that no pure derivational theory of narrow syntax exists. To be minimally adequate, derivational theories must be mixed, hence the arguments against mixed theories apply to these too. In addition to this point I argue that everything else being equal and with no additional stipulations added, derivational theories with the role of move are less restrictive than representational theories with the concept of chain. In the third section of the paper I consider the derivational explanation of the asymmetry of the notion of c-command and conclude that this explanation, like other explanations of c-command (and also like other derivational explanations) is not successful. I suggest instead that we should eliminate c-command from the grammar and replace it by simpler interacting notions.

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