This article shows that a version of the Condition on Extraction Domain (Huang 1982) can be derived from the Phase Impenetrability Condition (PIC; Chomsky 2001, 2008) if the following assumptions are made: (a) All syntactic operations are driven by features of lexical items. (b) These features are ordered on lexical items. (c) All phrases are phases. (d) Edge features that trigger intermediate movement steps can only be added before the phase head becomes inert. Given (a–d), it follows from the PIC that extraction from XP is blocked if the operation that has merged XP is the final operation taking place in a phase: a last-merged specifier is a barrier because no edge feature can be inserted that might extract some item out of it; this induces a PIC violation on the following cycle. The analysis can be extended to cover freezing effects. Furthermore, it predicts the existence of the melting effect, illustrated in German and Czech: local scrambling in front of what would otherwise qualify as a last-merged specifier renders the specifier transparent for extraction. The most important assumption made here is that the timing of edge feature insertion is crucial (before vs. after in (d)). Accordingly, the analysis can be viewed as an argument supporting a strictly derivational organization of grammar.

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