The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 10/9 - Paul Marty

Speaker: Paul Marty (MIT)
Time: Friday, October 9, 2-3:30
Place: 32-D831
Title: Economize Binding Theory

In the stream of generative linguistics, it has been proposed that derivations and interface representations are subject to global economy principles. In this talk, I investigate the predictions made by such proposals regarding the licensing of the bound-variable construal of pronouns in natural languages. Capitalizing on Ruys (1994), I propose that the so-called Crossover effects, i.e. cases in which the bound-variable interpretation of a pronouns is unavailable (e.g., *He_i likes every student_i, *His_i mother likes every student_i), reduce to violations of the following two economy principles:

(1) Interface Economy: Be as economical as possible in deriving an LF output representation.

(2) Interface Transparency: Favor transparent reflections of LF properties in PF precedence relationships.

I will begin by setting out the basic proposal behind Interface Economy and show that it provides a principled account for the distribution of the Strong Crossover (SCO) effects. I will argue, however, that the Weak Crossover (WCO) effects might be better captured by Interface Transparency, (2). It will be shown that the perspective advocated here sheds a new light on the cross-linguistic variations in WCO effects and offers a better grasp on the most recalcitrant counterexamples to previous WCO generalizations. If time permits, I will discuss how these facts support a model of grammar in which the rules assigning appropriate interpretations to anaphoric elements do not form a specific module but rather follow from more general principles that govern the whole computational system.