Colloquium: Merging in phases

Thursday, April 29, 3:30-5pm, Cobb 201
Ed Stabler, UCLA

In human languages, movement relations are restricted to certain domains, and there is a long history of proposals about how those domains should be delimited. It is sometimes assumed that certain categories 'block' or are 'barriers' to movement, and sometimes that blocking relations are relativized to the kind of movement relation involved, or that the paths between related positions are somehow restricted, or that movement can involve only a probe and a 'closest' relevant constituent. Another kind of proposal aims to explain at least some restrictions on movement as a consequence of the way phonological 'spellout' is interleaved with syntactic operations: the derivation goes through specific 'phases' in which material becomes phonologically defined and thereafter unavailable for syntactic manipulation. This talk, reporting work done jointly with Chris Collins, defines one especially simple proposal of this last kind, so that it can be assessed and compared with alternatives.