Problems of ‘Problems of Projection’: Breaking a conceptual tie


  • Marc Richards Queen’s University Belfast


The exocentric labelling model of Chomsky’s (2013, 2015) Problems of Projection renders projection rather more problematic than it was previously, giving rise to numerous technical and conceptual complications, redundancies and inconsistencies. Of particular concern is the reversibility of the assumptions that are made with respect to the relation between labelling and Search, such that the opposite theory is equally coherent and delivers the same empirical results. After reviewing these concerns, a simpler conception of exocentric labelling is sketched in which all labels are uniformly added via external Merge of categorizing phase heads, turning unlabelled (uninterpreted) nonphase syntactic objects into labelled (interpreted) phases. Some conceptual and empirical advantages of the simpler system are finally considered.


phases, labels, categories, transfer, islands


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