A Typology of EPP-Checking Mechanisms

Julianne M Doner


I propose that the EPP is obligatory cross-linguistically, but that the forms it takes vary from language to language, and even within the same language, in some cases. Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou (1998) argue that the EPP can be checked by either a head or by a phrasal element, and Massam and Smallwood (1997) argue that it can be checked by either a verbal or nominal element. Intersecting these two approaches leads to a total of four forms of EPP-checking, as attested, for example, in English, Niuean, Italian, Irish, and Arabic. McCloskey (1996a, 2001) argues that Irish does not have an EPP; I propose that, rather, it has an EPP which is checked by movement of the verb into Infl. Alternations within the Italian subjunctive paradigm indicate that it is the agreement morphemes which are crucial for EPP-checking in Italian. Finally, the alternations in word order and subject-verb agreement in Arabic can be explained by assuming an intra-linguistic alternation between the EPP being checked by a D-head or by a DP. Furthermore, I will argue that it is valued features, in particular, which are crucial for EPP-checking, and that the EPP seems to be related to deixis, which, as Ritter and Wiltschko (2009) argue, is characteristic of the Infl projection.


EPP; Null-Subject Language; Word Order; Agreement; Verb Movement; Features; Deixis

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