The Copy Theory of Movement and Linearization of Chains in the Minimalist Program

Jairo Nunes

This dissertation is concerned with movement operations within the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995). Exploring the copy theory of movement, it focusses on two issues: (i) why can traces not be phonetically realized?; and (ii) what is the theoretical status of the operation Move in a system where syntactic objects are derivationally assembled? I propose that a chain cannot surface with more than one link phonetically realized because it cannot be linearized in accordance with Kayne's (1994) Linear Correspondence Axiom. Assuming that the head of a chain and its trace(s) are nondistinct copies, they induce violations of the irreflexivity and asymmetry conditions on linear order, canceling the derivation. Deletion of all but one chain link in the phonological component (Chain Reduction) is forced upon nontrivial chains in order to permit their linearization. The choice of the links to be deleted is determined by economy considerations regarding the elimination of formal features in the phonological component. Assuming that only the chain link which is in the checking domain of a head H is affected by a checking relation with H, the head of a chain will always have fewer formal features (if any) to be eliminated in the phonological component than its trace(s). Deletion of traces for purposes of linearization is thus more economical than deletion of the head of a chain because it requires fewer subsequent applications of deletion of formal features. As for the status of Move, I propose that it is not an operation of the computational system, but is rather a description of the interaction of the independent operations Copy, Merge, Form Chain, and Chain Reduction. Evidence for this proposal is provided by instances of "sideward movement", where a given constituent C of a syntactic object K is copied and merges C with a syntactic object L, unconnected to K. Under this analysis of movement, the linearization of chains in the phonological component constrains sideward movement in such a way that it makes it possible to subsume the core properties of parasitic gap and across-the-board extraction constructions under the properties of standard movement.