A puzzle perennially observed in the Nupe literature is that extraction from tensed clauses is possible, but extraction from perfect clauses is not. This article argues that the existence of Edge Features (Chomsky 2005, 2006) allows for an elegant solution to this empirical problem. At the same time, the article shows that the problem of Nupe perfect extraction sheds light on the very nature of Edge Features, that is, the features claimed to drive all instances of Merge in the current Minimalist framework. Contra Chomsky (2005, 2006), it is argued that there is a (simple) typology for Edge Features. Specifically, Internal Merge is claimed to be driven by one type of Edge Feature, while External Merge is driven by another. The principal difference between these types of Edge Features is dormancy. On the basis of asymmetries in Nupe extraction patterns in the perfect, it is proposed that the features that drive Internal Merge are dormant (i.e. features requiring activation), while those that drive External Merge are inherently active. It is also proposed that Agree is the mechanism by which dormant Edge Features are activated. A number of nontrivial theoretical ramifications are shown to stem from this proposal.
Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie
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