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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2012, Vol. 43, No. 2, Pages 191-227
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00083)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Minimalist C/case
Article PDF (1.51 MB)

This article discusses A-licensing and case from a minimalist perspective, pursuing the idea that argument NPs cyclically enter a number of A-relations, rather than just a single one, resulting in event licensing, case licensing, and Φ-licensing. While argument case commonly reflects Voice-v relations, canonical A-movement is driven by higher elements, either in the C-T system or in a superordinate v-system (in ECM constructions). In addition, there is a distinction to be drawn between the triggering of A-movement, by for example C, and the licensing of the landing site, by for instance T, C-probing leading to tucking-in into Spec,T. Much of the evidence presented comes from quirky case constructions in Icelandic and from ECM and raising constructions in Icelandic and English. It is argued that T in ECM constructions inherits Φ-licensing from the matrix vΦ, regardless of the case properties of vΦ.