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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 1998, Vol. 29, No. 4, Pages 599-629
(doi: 10.1162/002438998553897)
© 1998 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Principle of Minimal Compliance
Article PDF (385.27 KB)

The syntactic literature discusses a number of phenomena in which a constraint that rules out a certain class of syntactic dependencies fails to rule out structures containing both an ill-formed dependency and a well-formed dependency; well-formed dependencies seem to be able to “help” dependencies that would be ill formed in isolation. In this article I attempt to provide a unified account of these phenomena. I postulate a principle that allows the computational system to “ignore” parts of a syntactic structure that have already been checked with respect to a particular constraint.