Bare Phrase Structure and Specifier-less Syntax

K.A. Jayaseelan


It is pointed out that “specifiers” render the algorithm of projection overly complex. This consideration lends support to Starke’s (2004) reanalysis of specifiers as phrasal heads that project their own phrases — which makes phrase structure a simple sequence of head-complement relations. It is further pointed out that if head-complement relations are represented using dominance in place of sisterhood, to reflect the essentially asymmetrical nature of Merge (Chomsky 2000), a non-branching (partially linear) phrase structure tree is obtained that very naturally eliminates labels and projections. A simple Spell-Out rule then provides a linear ordering of the terminal elements. The linear tree preserves all the major results of antisymmetry.


antisymmetry; label; linearization; specifier

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