On the role of C-command in grammar


Michael Moss


In the 1980s, syntax was divided up into various sub-theories, including separate theories for Case, Theta-Roles and Binding. Government was the common theme that ran through all of these sub-theories as a limiting domain. The Minimalist Program has shown government to be unnecessary to the theory. In Moss (2002), I show that, in fact, c-command is a better and more justifiable domain for the above mentioned syntactic relations. In this paper I would like to take my work a step further, by examining the limits to which the new mechanism “Agree” (Chomsky 2000, 2001) can be taken. I would like to show that “Agree” can be used, successfully to account for a wide range of syntactic processes that were previously seen as separate sub-theories.


This would further reduce the theoretical machinery needed for the production of human speech, along the lines proposed in Moss 2002.