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Title:Local vs. Global Optimization in Syntax: A Case Study
Authors:Gereon Mueller
Comment:To appear in Jennifer Spenader et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Variation within Optimality Theory. Stockholm University: Institute of Linguistics.
Abstract:The main goal of this paper is to argue for an approach to
optimization in syntax that is not global (as is standardly assumed),
but local, in the sense that syntactic optimization procedures can
affect only small portions of syntactic structure. Local optimization
presupposes harmonic serialism (rather than harmonic parallelism),
i.e., a derivational organization of grammar. In line with this, I set
out to reconcile optimality theory with the minimalist program, a derivational approach in
which phrase structure is created incrementally. I argue that local
optimization is both conceptually attractive (because it significantly
reduces complexity) and supported by empirical evidence. As a case
study, I develop an analysis of a shape conservation phenomenon in
German that involves repair-driven movement operations at the clause edge.
I show that, other things being equal, local optimization succeeds
where global optimization fails.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1