Bijection Principle

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Bijection Principle is a principle stating that an operator must bind one and only one variable, where 'variable' is defined as any locally A-bar bound NP.


This principle (BP for short) accounts for weak crossover violations, as in (i): (i) *Whoi does hisi mother admire ti (ii) Whoi ti likes hisi mother


The BP excludes the interpretation for (i) where both his and ti are bound variables bound by the operator who. The bound variable reading for the pronoun is allowed in (ii), since the pronoun, being locally A-bound by the trace of who, does not syntactically count as a variable.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Chomsky, Noam A. 1982. Some concepts and consequences of the theory of government and binding. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Koopman, H. & Sportiche, D. 1982. Variables and the Bijection Principle. In Projet sur les langues kru: Premier rapport. Kaye, J. & Koopman, H. & Sportiche, D. (eds.), 176-202. Univ. du Quebec a Montreal.
  • Riemsdijk, H. van & Williams, E. 1986. Introduction to the theory of grammar. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.