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Deducing Improper Movement from Phase-Based C-to-T Phi Transfer: Feature-Splitting Internal Merge
Miki Obata and Samuel David Epstein
353-360 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The main goal of this paper is to present a new account of improper movement phenomena first discussed in Chomsky (1973). Improper movement phenomena provide us with an interesting puzzle regarding learnability: why is it that A-to-A, A'-to-A' and A-to-A' movement are allowed, yet A'-to-A movement is by hypothesis excluded? The question: "What is the nature of the mechanism or constraint responsible for the prohibition?" has been a central concern since Chomsky (1973). The authors claim that improper movement is excluded by virtue of Agree failure between a moving element and a finite T as a consequence of "feature-splitting", which the authors argue is the most natural implementation of Chomsky's phi-feature inheritance system and Richards' (2007) value-transfer simultaneity. In addition, this analysis is empirically supported by and seeks to explain, without stipulation, A'-opacity intervention effects discussed in Rezac (2003). Furthermore, the proposed account enables the authors to rule out improper movement without appeal to the Activity Condition.

Published in

Proceedings of the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Natasha Abner and Jason Bishop
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00