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Ways of Structure Building$
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Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria and Vidal Valmala

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199644933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644933.001.0001

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Specificity‐driven Syntactic Derivation *

Specificity‐driven Syntactic Derivation *

(p.271) 12 Specificity‐driven Syntactic Derivation*
Ways of Structure Building

Antje Lahne

Oxford University Press

Specificity is arguably one of the main basic concepts of morphological theory (Subset Principle). This chapter proposes that the concept of specificity is at work in syntax, too, and it is a much more powerful underlying syntactic principle than previously thought. The chapter shows that syntactic derivations are driven by a specificity principle: an element X is more specific than an element Y iff X has more (matching) features than Y. The new principle yields all relative locality effects excluding the superiority case, as it does not draw on availability of search space, but on competition between potential goals. The specificity principle also accounts for several anti-MLC effects, such as order-preserving movement and anti-superiority effects, previously accounted for by independent, partially overlapping principles. The system works without intervention by closeness. The chapter is programmatic, offers a new perspective on intervention, and aims at renewing discussion about the nature of locality.

Keywords:   specificity, subset principle, structure building, goal competition, locality, minimal link condition, order-preserving movement, anti-superiority effects

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