ON THE X’ INVISIBILITY MYTH: ANALYZING RESTRICTIONS ON INTERMEDIATE PROJECTIONS
The X’ Invisibility Principle claims that intermediate (X’) levels of phrase structure are unavailable for syntactic computation (see especially Chomsky 1995). Evidence for this principle comes from the fact that X’ constituents resist operations such as movement and ellipsis and cannot be used as segment fragments. In this paper I argue that this principle is problematic on both conceptual and empirical grounds. I claim that movement restrictions are readily accounted for by Extension and Chain Uniformity, while restrictions on ellipsis and sentence fragments can be explained in terms of selectional features and the nature of syntactic projections.
Key words: X’ Invisibility, movement, ellipsis, sentence fragments, projection, selectional features.