Minimalist Program

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The Minimalist Program is a set of programmatic ideas for the creation of a theoretical framework for syntax, developed by Noam A. Chomsky and his followers since the early 1990s.

It aims to eliminate from linguistic theory anything which is not 'virtually necessary'. For instance, in Chomsky (1992) it is claimed that d-structure and s-structure can be dispensed with.

Given that language consists of expressions which are pairs of PF- and LF-representations, the following elements are assumed to be necessarily provided by Universal Grammar:

  • a set of (phonological, semantic, and grammatical) features
  • a procedure to assemble features into lexical items
  • a small set of operations that form syntactic objects: the computational system of human language CHL.

The central thesis of the minimalist framework is that CHL is the optimal, most simple, solution to legibility conditions at the PF- and LF-interface; the goal is to explain observed properties of language in terms of these legibility conditions, and of properties of CHL. See checking theory.

Links

Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics

References

  • Adger, David. 2003. Core syntax: A minimalist approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199243700
  • Boeckx, Cedric. 2006. Linguistic Minimalism: Origins, concepts, methods, and aims. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Boskovic, Zeljko, and Howard Lasnik. 2007. Minimalist Syntax: The essential readings. Malden, MA: Blackwell. ISBN 0631-23304-0
  • Chomsky, Noam A. 1995. The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Chomsky, Noam A. 2001. Derivation by phase. In Michael Kenstowicz, ed., Ken Hale: A life in language, 1-52. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0262112574
  • Chomsky, Noam A. 2004. Beyond explanatory adequacy. In Adriana Belletti, ed., Structures and beyond, 104-131. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195171977
  • Chomsky, N. 1998. Minimalist inquiries: the framework, MIT working papers in linguistics.
  • Chomsky, N. 1995. The minimalist program, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts/London.
  • Chomsky, N. 1993. A Minimalist Program for Linguistic Theory, MIT occasional papers in linguistics, 1-67. Reprinted in: Chomsky (1995).
  • Hornstein, Norbert, Jairo Nunes, and Kleanthes K. Grohmann. 2005. Understanding Minimalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521-53194-2
  • Johnson, David E. & Shalom Lappin. 1999. Local Constraints vs. Economy. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications. ISBN 1-57586-182-8
  • Radford, Andrew. 2004. Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the structure of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521-54274-X
  • Seuren, Pieter. 2004. Chomsky's Minimalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-195-17306-6