Samuel David Epstein, Hisatsugu Kitahara and T. Daniel Seely

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics


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This article examines the nature of derivations. Derivation plays a critical role in minimalist inquiry. But what is the nature of syntactic derivation, and specifically of operations? Just how is the form and application of derivational operations determined? And what criteria can be used in formulating the ‘right’ type of derivation? For the minimalist program, the strong minimalist thesis (SMT) plays a central role in formulating and evaluating derivation. Under SMT, we expect the recursive part of language faculty to be a system that not only satisfies minimal requirements imposed by the interface systems, but does so in accord with principles of efficient computation. Computational efficiency assumes computation, and the computation equipped with Merge goes some great distance in meeting this expectation, both identifying and satisfying the hypothesized third-factor principles (such as binary merger, no-tampering, inclusiveness, minimal search, and phase-based cyclicity).

Keywords: minimalist derivation; strong minimalist thesis; minimalist program; language faculty

Article.  9291 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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