The syntactic triumvirate of Sam Epstein, Daniel Seely (Eastern Michigan) and Hisa Kitahara (Keio University) recently had a paper published in Linguistic Inquiry, one of the most prestigious journals in our field. In this paper, they continue their longstanding research collaboration into the fundamentals of modern syntactic theory. The full bibliographic information of their paper, together with an abstract, is given below.
Epstein, Samuel David, Hisatsugu Kitahara, & T. Daniel Seely. 2014. Labeling by Minimal Search: Implications for Successive-Cyclic A-Movement and the Conception of the Postulate ‘‘Phase’’. Linguistic Inquiry, 45(3):463-481.
We argue that Chomsky’s (2013) ‘‘label identification by minimal search’’ explains ‘‘obligatory exit’’ from intermediate positions, not only in the successive-cyclic A-bar-movement phenomena that Chomsky analyzes, but also in (phase-internal) successive-cyclic A-movement. Moreover, it does so by employing simplest Merge and third-factor minimal search for label identification. Our extension of Chomsky’s analysis to A-movement operates without any appeal to Merge-over-Move or to lexical arrays or subarrays. This in turn renders the concept ‘‘phase’’ itself no longer necessary in analyzing the core cases of illicit A-movement, shown to reduce to labeling failure. Implications of this result and the nature of the long-standing evidence for strict cyclicity are discussed.