Ambiguity of government and the chain condition

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In this paper, I examine the Chain Condition (Chomsky 1981, 1986a) and show that the requirement that the head of an A-Chain be its unique Case position cannot be maintained when a range of data from different languages is examined. In its place, I propose the Revised Chain Condition (RCC), which allows A-Chains to contain more than one Case-marked position as long as each position within the Chain is uniquely Case-marked. Unlike the Chain Condition, which resists successful deduction from independent postulates, the RCC can be derived in its entirety from plausible primitives of the grammar. I test the predictions of the RCC with respect to a variety of theoretical constructs, showing them to be confirmed. The implications of RCC for the conception of Chains and movement in the minimalist approach (Chomsky 1992, 1994, Chomsky and Lasnik 1991, and Lasnik 1993) are discussed. It is argued that a careful reading of the minimalist literature turns out to support the RCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-162
Number of pages58
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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