LICENSING PRINCIPLES AND PHRASE STRUCTURE
Yang Soon Kim
Ph.D. Dissertation, 1988
This work explores a 'Principle-Based Phrase Structure' and its applications
in languages, while eliminating redundant phrase structure rules and some
versions of the X-bar theory. Phrase structure will be derived as output
of universal principles at each level of syntactic representation, rather
than being stipulated as input. A 'Licensed Structure' is a well-formed
phrase structure derived from universal principles such as Case and Theta
Theory. The constraints which hold at DS as well as at other levels interact
to yield the constraints on well-formed P-markers in a Licensed Structure.
The results of this work suggest that the phrase structure component,
together with the parameters of X-bar theory, can be entirely eliminated
from Universal Grammar. The initial theoretical assumption in this study
is that 'every element that appears in a well-formed structure must be
licensed.' Licensing combines two distinct conditions: syntactic and semantic.
Licensing conditions comprising LF as well as SS and DS are applied to
both lexical and empty categories. The proposed Licensed Structure consists
of universal licensing relations and a category projection module, and
is constrained by the Licensing Principle. The Licensing Principle is
an overriding general principle which can embrace the Projection Principle,
Full Interpretation, the Extended Projection Principle, Predication, and
various subtheories in UG, such as Case Theory and Theta Theory. The variety
of subrules in UG can be significantly reduced, perhaps to one condition,
'Licensing,' while increasing explanatory power without sacrificing descriptive
power. In a principle-based Licensed Structure, the notions of 'specifier,'
'complement,' 'head,' 'maximality,' 'subject,' and 'topic' are consequently
derived from non-phrase structure origins by means of the Licensing Principle.
It follows that the above notions are 'relational' and 'functional. '
A modular theory of phrase structure allows us to give explicit definitions
for all and only those notions of structural prominence which are necessary
in the grammar.
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