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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2001, Vol. 32, No. 4, Pages 694-716
(doi: 10.1162/002438901753373050)
© 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On the (Non)complementarity of θ-Theory and Checking Theory
Article PDF (109.07 KB)

Chomsky (1995) proposes that the θ system and the checking system form two complementary modules. As a consequence both subjects and objects must form nontrivial chains to check their formal features with a functional category (T and v, respectively). I argue that objects and exceptional-Case-marking subjects check their formal features with a lexical verb, whose domain is therefore both θ-role assigning and feature checking. I show that discarding the complementarity assumption in this manner results in a more “bare” theory of the computational system as well as several empirical advantages.