Internal Pair-Merge: the Missing Mode of Movement

Marcel Richards


In this brief article, I point out the predicted existence of a second mode of movement (alongside Internal Set-Merge) that should be sanctioned under Chomsky’s Strong Minimalist Thesis, namely Internal Pair-Merge, essentially yielding ‘movement by adjunction’. I then suggest one possible area in which the computational system makes use of this mode of movement – namely, it allows us to implement Agree-less Move to phase heads (aka ‘pure EPP-movement’, or Chomsky’s (2007, 2008) Edge-Feature movement) without compromising the Activity Condition, thus potentially yielding a truly minimalist, narrow-syntactic analysis of optional, ‘discourse-driven’, ‘stylistic’ movement operations like topicalization and focus-movement. Not only does Internal Pair-Merge emerge as a theoretical possibility implied by the SMT (section 1), but it is also a device that is fully exploited by the computational system (section 2).


Merge, Internal Merge, Set-Merge, Pair-Merge; optional movement, EPP, Edge Feature; Activity Condition; Strong Minimalist Thesis

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Copyright (c) 2009 Marcel Richards