Merge and Bare Phrase Structure

Naoki Fukui

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199549368
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Merge and Bare Phrase Structure

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



This article examines the nature of Merge (the standard structure-building operation in virtually all minimalist studies), and issues of dominance (projection), long-distance dependencies/movements (can movement be reduced to Merge?), and the minimalist reformulation of the well-known X-bar theory in terms of bare phrase structure. It is organized as follows. Section 4.2 briefly reviews the history of modern linguistics to see how these characteristics have been captured by various different components of grammar. Section 4.3 focuses on the operation Merge, which is assumed in bare phrase structure theory to be the fundamental operation in human language, and discusses its properties and problems. It also explores a few different interpretations of Merge and related operations, and discusses some implications for comparative syntax, particularly Japanese syntax. Section 4.4 summarizes the discussion, trying to figure out the current stage of our understanding of the relevant issues, and speculates on future directions.

Keywords: minimalist program; dominance; long-distance dependencies; X-bar theory; bare phrase structure

Article.  10462 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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