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Licensing is a it has been proposed that well-formedness conditions on syntactic structure (esp. the principle of Full Interpretation) may be viewed as licensing conditions: the presence of an element in a structure is permitted if the element is licensed in any of a small number of ways. E.g. an argument in a structure is licensed if its chain contains a visible theta-position. Similarly, a VP is licensed if it functions as a predicate (hence the obligatoriness of sentential subjects stipulated in the EPP).
Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics
- Chomsky, N. 1986a. Knowledge of language: its nature, origin and use, Praeger, New York.