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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2007, Vol. 38, No. 4, Pages 589-644
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2007.38.4.589)
© 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On the Locality and Motivation of Move and Agree: An Even More Minimal Theory
Article PDF (683.44 KB)

The article proposes a new theory of successive-cyclic movement that reconciles the early and the current minimalist approaches to it. As in the early approach, there is no feature checking in intermediate positions of successive-cyclic movement. However, as in the current approach and unlike in early minimalism, successive-cyclic movement starts before the final target of movement enters the structure, and Form Chain is eliminated. The locality of Move and the locality of Agree are shown to be radically different, Agree being free from several mechanisms that constrain Move, namely, phases and the Activation Condition. However, there is no need to take phases to define locality domains of syntax or to posit the Activation Condition as an independent principle. They still hold empirically for Move as theorems. The Generalized EPP (the “I need a Spec” property of attracting heads) and the Inverse Case Filter are also dispensable. The traditional Case Filter, stated as a checking requirement, is the sole driving force of A-movement. More generally, Move is always driven by a formal inadequacy (an uninterpretable feature) of the moving element, while Agree is target driven. The system resolves a lookahead problem that arises under the EPP-driven movement approach, where the EPP diacritic indicating that X moves is placed on Y, not X, although X often needs to start moving before Y enters the structure.