A recent trend in generative syntax has been the development of a minimalist program. This minimalism shows up in two distinct ways. First, derivations and representations conform to an 'economy' criterion demanding that they be minimal; no extra steps in derivations and no extra symbols in representations are allowed. Second, the theory itself is developing in the direction of minimality. Thus, in place of a variety of distinct earlier transformations we have Affect a; conditions on transformations and representations avoid redundancy by not overlapping in their effects, etc. Chomsky (1993) has recently suggested carrying this minimalist program still further with a proposal that a syntactic representation consists not of the familiar four levels, D-structure, S-structure, Phonetic Form, and Logical Form, but rather, only the latter two - the apparently irreducible 'interface levels', which provide instructions for the articulatory-perceptual and conceptual-intentional performance systems. Since virtually every module of the theory appears to display strong S-structure effects, the success of the minimalist program depends on the reduction of all such requirements to LF and PF well-formedness conditions, and/or to general economy considerations. The goal of this project is to explore the possibility of such a reduction in Case theory and the form that the resulting minimalist theory of Case might have. The emphasis will be on two types of Case standardly treated as polar opposites: 'inherent' Case, which has thematic import, and 'exceptional' Case, which by definition has no thematic import. The possibility of unifying the two Case types will be explored. Data from Serbo-Croatian, a language which due to its rich overt Case-marking provides more accessible data pertaining to Case theory than English, will be used in the investigation of inherent Case. The conclusions reached during the investigation are expected to have considerable theoretical importance, si nce Case theory plays a central role in the grammar and crucially interacts with a number of other modules.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Paul G. Chapin
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University of Connecticut
United States
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