Workshop: Workspace, MERGE, and Labelling
(7 August, 2022)
Convenors: Victor Pan & Yuqiao Du
As the Minimalist Program advances into deeper waters, appeals have been made as to the reflections on the fundamentals that this campaign has assumed for modelling. Among the proposed topics, Workspace and MERGE (see Chomsky 2019 The Reading Program, 2020 UCLA lectures, 2021 Genuine Explanations) undisputedly claim the top priority, and new understandings of such bottommost concepts could introduce revolutionary consequences. Meanwhile, accumulating analyses have been reporting the power that the Labelling Algorithm possesses in filtering the illegitimate structures from the possible productions of free MERGE, which bears especial interests at this moment of theoretical crossroads. This workshop calls for discussions that focus on Workspace, MERGE and Labelling, including but not limited to their clearer definitions and potential subtypes, their interactions with other operations/conditions, such as the Phase Impenetrability Condition, and their applications on language facts. Presentations will be 30 minutes long plus 15 minutes of discussion.
Some example topics are given below:
Workspace and MERGE:
- What is the nature of workspace in syntax and how should we define its relation to concepts like phase? What are the implications of ‘spaces’ in syntax that may concern topological considerations? How does MERGE operate on the workspace to the extent that the Strong Minimalist Thesis is satisfied? (see Chomsky et al. 2019; Chomsky 2019 The Reading Program, 2020 UCLA lectures, 2021 GE; Krivochen 2019, 2021)
- The ‘freedom’ of MERGE is conditioned. Importantly, MERGE has to meet the constraint of Resource Restrictions. The details, however, raise further controversies. For example, is it a better idea to separate the Determinacy Principle from the Resource Restrictions, as Determinacy is better analyzed as applied at the input of MERGE? (see Goto & Ishii 2020)
Subtypes of MERGE:
- It is a long-standing observation that adjuncts behave exceptionally, and this acknowledgment has invited ‘unorthodox’ solutions. As the latest example of such attempts, Pair-Merge is proposed to be a necessary operation in syntax. How should we define this operation under the framework of workspace? Is it possible to eliminate this operational complication by privileging other dimensions, for example, the application of MERGE? (see Omune 2020, Milway 2021)
- Is it possible to justify Pair-Merge by expanding its application scenarios? For instance, could coordination structures be achieved by Pair-Merge, given the similarities spotted in coordination and adjuncts? (see Bošković 2019, 2020)
- Are other types of unorthodox Merge illegal, and how is the answer justified? How to reconstruct their power using the simplest MERGE under the framework of workspace? (see Chomsky 2020 UCLA lectures)
Compositions other than MERGE
- In Chomsky (2021 GE), two compositional mechanisms are proposed in view of MERGE’s incapability of coordination and head-movement; specifically, coordination is derived by Form Sequence, which is a non-hierarchical (i.e., linear) and non-cyclic collation operation, and head-movement is derived by Amalgamate, which is structured and cyclic yet ignores the Extension Condition. The problem of SMT justification immediately surfaces. Also, questions arise as to the details of these operations, such as their domains, and to their relations to MERGE, Agree, and Labelling, etc. (see Chomsky 2021 GE, Goto & Ishii 2021)
- How would Labelling interfere with our identification of the effects of MERGE and workspace? For example, does Labelling provide a switch to enable/disable projections, so that certain syntactic inaccessibilities only imply a Labelling but not a workspace difficulty? (see Saito 2016, 2018; Miyagawa et al. 2019)
- Are there typological alternations to πηι-agreement in Labelling? For example, do languages lacking overt πηι-agreement entertain agreement between discourse features, such as delta-feature proposed by Miyagawa (2017)?
- Even more fundamentally, what is the ontology of ‘labels’? Are labels PF or LF oriented? As a representative model, could labels be covered by other derivational theories? (see Takita 2020, Collins & Seely 2020)
- Bošković, Ž. (2019). On the Coordinate Structure Constraint and Labelling. In R. Stockwell, M. O'Leary, Z. Xu, & Z.L. Zhou (eds.) Proceedings of the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (pp. 71-80). Cascadilla Proeceedings Project.
- Bošković, Ž. (2020). On Unifying the Coordinate Structure Constraint and the Adjunct Condition. In A. Bárány, T. Biberauer, J. Douglas, and S. Vikner (eds.) Syntactic architecture and its consequences II: Between syntax and morphology. Language Sciences Press.
- Chomsky, N., Gallego, Á. J., & Ott, D. (2019). Generative grammar and the faculty of language: Insights, questions, and challenges. Catalan Journal of Linguistics, 229-261.
- Chomsky, N. (2019). Some puzzling foundational issues: The Reading Program. Catalan journal of linguistics, 263-285.
- Chomsky, N. (2020). The UCLA lectures. lingbuzz/005485 (auf.net)
- Collins, C., & Seely, T.D. (2020) Labelling without labels. lingbuzz/005486 (auf.net)
- Goto, N., & Ishii, T. (2021). Multiple Nominative and Form Sequence. lingbuzz/ 005931 (auf.net)
- Goto, N., & Ishii, T. (2020). Some consequences of MERGE and determinacy. lingbuzz/004108 (auf.net)
- Krivochen, D. G. (2021). Towards a theory of syntactic workspaces: neighbourhoods and distances in a lexicalised grammar. lingbuzz/005689 (auf.net)
- Krivochen, D. G. (2019). On Folding and Twisting (and whatknot): towards a characterization of workspaces in syntax. lingbuzz/004375 (auf.net)
- Milway, D. (2020). A parallel derivation theory of adjuncts. lingbuzz/005994 (auf.net)
- Miyagawa, S. (2017). Agreement beyond phi (Vol. 75). MIT Press.
- Miyagawa, S., Wu, D., & Koizumi, M. (2019). Inducing and blocking labelling. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 4(1), 141,1-26. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.923
- Omune, J. (2020). Immediate-local MERGE as pair-Merge. http://hdl.handle.net/10150/641482
- Saito, M. (2016). (A) Case for labelling: labelling in languages without ɸ-feature agreement. The Linguistic Review, 33(1), 129-175.
- Saito, M. (2018). Kase as a weak head. In L. Kalin, I. Paul, and J. V. Klok (eds.) McGill Working Papers in Linguistics 25.1 (Special Issue in Honour of Lisa Travis), 382-391.
- Takita, K. (2020). Labelling for linearization. The Linguistic Review, 37(1), 75-116.