On government

Date of Completion

January 1988


Language, Linguistics




This thesis explores the notion government within the Principles and Parameters model of Universal Grammar. Following Chomsky's proposals in Barriers, government is defined recursively, the induction step in terms of the notion barrier. This is used to account for phenomena that fall under (i) Case Theory, (ii) Movement operations and representations, (iii) Binding Theory.^ Barrier is defined in terms of maximal functional projections headed by a morphologically represented category. The process of Head Incorporation, since it leaves beind a non-morphological element (t), eliminates a class of potential barriers. Another class is eliminated by preventing the functional projection from taking a specifier, which results in the projection being non-maximal. Given this relativization, the same notion barrier can be used in different sub-systems.^ Analyses are presented of phenomena within the Romance Languages, English, Basque, and others, all of which involve government: Case assignment, Subjacency parameters, Multiple Questions, Modification, Cliticization, et cetera. Apart from simplifying considerably the Theory of Barriers, an attempt is made to derive Binding Theory from government-related notions, such as the Empty Category Principle and Incorporation. ^