We argue that Chomsky’s (2013) ‘‘label identification by minimal search’’ explains ‘‘obligatory exit’’ from intermediate positions, not only in the successive-cyclic Ā-movement phenomena that Chomsky analyzes, but also in (phase-internal) successive-cyclic A-movement. Moreover, it does so by employing simplest Merge and third-factor minimal search for label identification. Our extension of Chomsky’s analysis to A-movement operates without any appeal to Merge-over- Move or to lexical arrays or subarrays. This in turn renders the concept ‘‘phase’’ itself no longer necessary in analyzing the core cases of illicit A-movement, shown to reduce to labeling failure. Implications of this result and the nature of the long-standing evidence for strict cyclicity are discussed.
In this article I investigate certain phenomena relating to superiority, the Empty Category Principle (ECP), and scope. I propose a chain-based scope-marking convention and a new analysis of adjunction, and hypothesize that English is a covert verb-second grammar. The analysis is couched within checking theory and ultimately within the bare theory of phrase structure. I propose category-neutral(-ized) LF representations, displaying VP-recursion but lacking functional heads and their projections, and I suggest that this, in turn, allows significant simplification of index-sensitive head government conditions appearing in many contemporary formulations of the ECP.