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Foundational Issues in Linguistic TheoryEssays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud$
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Robert Freidin, Carlos P. Otero, and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262062787

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262062787.001.0001

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Letter to Noam Chomsky and Howard Lasnik on “Filters and Control,” April 17, 1977

Letter to Noam Chomsky and Howard Lasnik on “Filters and Control,” April 17, 1977

(p.2) (p.3) 1 Letter to Noam Chomsky and Howard Lasnik on “Filters and Control,” April 17, 1977
Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory

Jean-Roger Vergnaud

The MIT Press

This chapter presents Jean-Roger Vergnaud’s letter to Noam Chomsky and Howard Lasnik regarding the first draft of their 1977 paper “Filters and Control.” To explain certain properties of infinitival constructions in English, Chomsky and Lasnik had proposed a surface filter that applies to indexed noun phrases. Vergnaud offers an alternative filter involving the licensing of “Governed Case” (as opposed to nominative and genitive), which he claims is very similar to a principle of Universal Grammar (UG). In his letter, Vergnaud brought into focus the realization that concepts of Case and government lay at the foundation of UG principles, opening up extremely fruitful lines of research in linguistics.

Keywords:   surface filter, Jean-Roger Vergnaud, Noam Chomsky, Howard Lasnik, infinitival constructions, noun phrases, Universal Grammar, Case, government, linguistics

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