Summer 2014, Vol. 45, No. 3, Pages 463-481
Labeling by Minimal Search: Implications for Successive- Cyclic A-Movement and the Conception of the Postulate ‘‘Phase’’
We argue that Chomsky’s (2013) ‘‘label identification by minimal search’’ explains ‘‘obligatory exit’’ from intermediate positions, not only in the successive-cyclic Ā-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.