Specificity‐driven Syntactic Derivation<sup>*</sup>

Antje Lahne

in Ways of Structure Building

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644933
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741609 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics

Specificity‐driven Syntactic Derivation*

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Specificity is arguably one of the main basic concepts of morphological theory (Subset Principle). This chapter proposes that the concept of specificity is at work in syntax, too, and it is a much more powerful underlying syntactic principle than previously thought. The chapter shows that syntactic derivations are driven by a specificity principle: an element X is more specific than an element Y iff X has more (matching) features than Y. The new principle yields all relative locality effects excluding the superiority case, as it does not draw on availability of search space, but on competition between potential goals. The specificity principle also accounts for several anti-MLC effects, such as order-preserving movement and anti-superiority effects, previously accounted for by independent, partially overlapping principles. The system works without intervention by closeness. The chapter is programmatic, offers a new perspective on intervention, and aims at renewing discussion about the nature of locality.

Keywords: specificity; subset principle; structure building; goal competition; locality; minimal link condition; order-preserving movement; anti-superiority effects

Chapter.  9457 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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