UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 8 (1996)

Strong features, pied-piping and the overt/covert distinction



The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the different properties of the operation Move before and after Spell-Out can be grounded in independently motivated properties of the minimalist program. To this end I will address two potential problems for the requirement that derivations must be uniform: (i) the obligatory nature of pied-piping prior to Spell-Out and (ii) the obligatory elimination of strong features prior to Spell-Out. If these problems cannot be addressed in a satisfactory way, the motivation for the overt/covert distinction in the minimalist program is seriously undermined. I will show that the special properties associated with Move pre-Spell-Out can be derived from the economy condition requiring that an item enters the derivation only if it has an effect on output. Since it has recently been argued by Johnson and Lappin (Johnson and Lappin 1996) that this economy condition gives rise to serious complexity problems when combined with the theory of QR proposed by Reinhart (1993, 1995), I conclude the paper with a discussion of these claims and show that they are unwarranted.

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