<φ, φ>-less Labeling

Jae-Young Shim 1 ,
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1Pukyong National University
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ⓒ Copyright 2018 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jan 30, 2018 ; Revised: Mar 23, 2018 ; Accepted: Apr 17, 2018

Published Online: Apr 30, 2018


Hypothesizing that every syntactic object reaching the interfaces must be labeled, Chomsky (2013, 2015) introduce an independent label-identifying operation, Labeling Algorithm (LA). This newly proposed LA, which is an instance of Minimal Search, is assumed to search for not only the categorial feature of heads but also any agreeing features shared by two heads to determine the label of a given syntactic object. This paper argues, however, that postulation of the latter type of search by LA (i.e., locating agreeing features) adds a computational burden to the grammar by forcing LA to perform two different types of search, namely, a “comparison search” in addition to the widely agreed-upon Minimal Search. This paper also addresses some conceptual and empirical problems that arise from the paired form of the non-categorial label, <φ, φ>, whose introduction results from the problematic comparison search by LA. To solve these problems, I present an alternative analysis in which LA searches only for the categorial feature of heads. Consequently, neither comparison search nor the paired form of the label, <φ, φ>, becomes necessary in the analysis.

Keywords: label; labeling algorithm; interpretability; categorial feature; minimal search; comparison search