Why the binding theory doesn’t apply at LF

Hicks, Glyn (2008) Why the binding theory doesn’t apply at LF. Syntax, 11, (3), 255-280. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-9612.2008.00115.x).


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This article argues that the relegation of the binding theory to the C-I interface (LF) is theoretically undesirable and empirically unwarranted. Recent Minimalist research has sought to eliminate the binding theory from UG by reducing its conditions to narrow-syntactic operations (Hornstein 2000, 2006; Reuland 2001, 2006; Kayne 2002; Zwart 2002, 2006; Hicks 2006). This approach remains controversial since the canonical Minimalist binding theory (Chomsky 1993; Chomsky and Lasnik 1993) views the binding conditions as interpretive rules applying at LF, supported by evidence that Condition A interacts with other interpretive phenomena assumed to be determined at LF (Lebeaux 1998; Fox and Nissenbaum 2004). While the interaction of anaphor binding and scope relations in particular is not disputed, I show that it is attributable to factors outside the binding theory, namely the requirement that variables (including anaphors) must be c-commanded by their binders at LF. Deprived of its strongest empirical argument, the LF binding theory can then be picked apart.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1467-9612.2008.00115.x
ISSNs: 1368-0005 (print)
Keywords: pronouns, binding theory, minimalism, lf
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Modern Languages
ePrint ID: 63834
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
December 2008Published
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:48
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/63834

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