April 4, 2012
2012. “ECP Is Dead, Long Live ECP!” M. S. Thirumalai ed. LANGUAGE IN INDIA. 12:4. (pp. 79-86)
This paper, written in connection with Bandyopadhyay (1989, where a status of a ‘free’ bound morpheme in Bangla was discussed), had introduced the Nyaya-Vaisesika (two branches of Indian Philosophy) concept of relational absence or abhava to strengthen the semantics of the ECP (though it was dated at that time) and deletion. Any moved element that leaves behind a trace in the locus may be considered as a case of posterior absence. The open question as posited by Chomsky, Lasnik (1991:21) that whether a moved element actually leaves behind a trace or not can be solved by an independent reason of posterior absence which, by assigning the absential qualifier to the empty locus, points out the once-upon-a-time cognition of existence of the counter-positive. An NP-trace is an instance of posterior-absence. The trace of moved element can be cognized in the locus from where the counter-positive is moved. Thus the ‘trace of X’ can be interpreted in the chain of (qulifier,qualificand or counterpositive, locand, locus) X, t or binder-bindee relation. This is called as L-relation or sub-super stratum/locus-counterpositive or bindee-binder relation or the antecedent-trace association. Assigning absential qualifier emphasized the fact emphasized that any case of chain like (John, t) is not to be interpreted as only a simple case of “copy and delete” but a case of a definite locus-counterpositive relation or L-relation. If the locus’s (where trace occurs) being the absence of counterpositive amounts to the locus’s being the object referred by the word ‘absence’, that is occasioned by a prior cognition of the counterpositive. In the case of posterior absence, the counter-positive is destroyed and the counter-positive is responsible for this type of abhava. PRO is a locus of the counterpositive or antecedent. It may be called posterior absence where lexical element is destroyed and thus contraction is possible, e.g. in case of wanna-contraction. PRO is always controlled by its counterpositive. Posterior absence is also found in the case of pro in Null subject languages or pro-drop languages like Italian, where pronominal is dropped or destroyed though the locus of that counterpostive is there. The property of counterpositive is reflected in the Agr or phi-features in those pro-drop languages. The absence cognized in the t is under the mode of limitorship of the moved element. Thus, there must be a locus for an absence, though the content of the counterpositive is moved. In a given sentence, whenever a phonological matrix is lacking, the category as a locus for that moved or destroyed counterpositive exists for absential cognition in a given sentence. If locus is there the delimiting properties of counterpositiveness is also there. Thus, in case of deletion, both the category and content is not hammered and erased, it is only the content that is absent from the category-ness of locushood. Thus, though deletion is a posterior absence, it has the delimiting property of being counterpositive-ness, e.g., in case of wh-deletion, the locus of wh lacks the wh (where there is no overt wh) as well as wh-ness or is marked by the posterior absence of wh and wh-ness in its locus. The underlying wh-phrase undergoes wh-movement to COMP leaving an absence or trace behind and then Wh-deletion or posterior absence of wh occurs. The category persists by means of inherence-relation. The application of universal Recoverability Condition is subject to the awareness of cognition of absence in the locus of the category. Thus the absential quantifier solves a crucial problem of whether a deletion erases category and content or only the contents of a category by positing the category as a locus of the counterpositive. However, there must be a distinction between a moved element and a deleted element. In case of moved element, the resident of t or R-expression is an instance of posterior absence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: abhava & nyaya-vaisesika philosopy, uttarabava or posterior absence, Chomskian extenteded standard syntax, ECP, deletion, trace