Case in GB/Minimalism

Jonathan David Bobaljik and Susi Wurmbrand

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206476
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Case in GB/Minimalism

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Case theory in government-binding/minimalism is about the distribution of noun phrases (NPs), rather than morphological form per se. In this theory, ‘abstract case’ plays a central role in being one of the driving forces of movement, uniting a variety of transformations (passive, raising, unaccusative, etc.), and in regulating alternations between overt and unpronounced subjects in non-finite clauses. In the original presentation of case theory in Chomsky (1980), abstract Case is related to the morphological property case via the hypothesis that the formal features that regulate the syntactic distribution of NPs are the same features that are overtly realised as case morphology in some languages. This article explores case theory in government-binding, case filter, the notion of government, the transition from government-binding to minimalism, and topics in case theory within government-binding/minimalism such as null case, ergativity, and case typology.

Keywords: case theory; government-binding; minimalism; noun phrases; abstract case; government; null case; ergativity; case typology

Article.  6487 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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