This chapter examines the “strong minimalist thesis” (SMT) that language is an optimal solution to interface conditions that must be satisfied by the faculty of language. SMT emerged within the principles-and-parameters framework of generative grammar and involves efficient computation that requires the restriction of computational resources as well as minimization of computations. The chapter suggests that Merge constitutes the sole computational operation in narrow syntax and proposes a No Tampering Condition (NTC) to prevent Merge from making internal changes to the syntactic objects (SOs) to which it applies. It first reviews some recent and ongoing work in the general framework of the so-called Minimalist Program before turning to the theory of phases, the Inclusiveness Condition, and the Phase Impenetrability Condition. It also discusses two forms of Merge, external merge and internal merge, the latter of which is driven by edge features of lexical items.
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