Minimalist Machine

Joint work with Jason Ginsburg.

Introduction

The Minimalist Machine is a computer implementation of a theory within the Minimalist Program.

The project has several goals:

Example 1: John1 considers himself1 to be intelligent (Kayne-style Doubling Constituent (DC) analysis)
Stream: [john, d, he, self, intelligent, v_be, 'Tinf', consider, 'v*', 'T', c] derives:

c d John T(pres,[3,pl]) vunerg think T(pres,[3,pl]) ce d he T(pres,[3,pl]) vbe smart (frontier)
John -s think that he -s be smart (after morpheme realization)
John think -s that he be -s smart (after affix-hop)
John think -s that he be -s smart (after morpheme realization, stage 2)
John thinks that he is smart (spellout)

See full derivation for the example here.
Note: strikethrough, e.g. self he d John, is used to indicate unpronounced copies.

Example 2: There are likely to be several prizes awarded (expletive passive with leftwards TH/EX) (Chomsky 2001)
Stream: [prizes, several, award, prt, 'v~', there, 'Tinf', likely, v_be, 'T', c] derives:

c there T(pres,[3,pl]) vbe likely to v~ several prizes prt award (frontier)
there -re be likely to be several prizes -en award (after morpheme realization)
there be -re likely to be several prizes award -en (after affix-hop)
there be -re likely to be several prizes award -en (after morpheme realization, stage 2)
there are likely to be several prizes awarded (spellout)
See full derivation for the example here.
Note: strikethrough, e.g. several prizes, is used to indicate unpronounced copies.

Core architecture highlights:

Grammar

Examples:

Head uFeatures iFeatures Other Spellout (English)
v* phi:Person,Number ef(theta)
value acc Case
vunerg ef(theta)
prt phi: Number
Case
ef -ed
v~, v~unacc ef
check theta
be
vbe ef
Preference:
move over external merge
be
v have
prog ef -ing
perf -en
vRoot lexical verbs
(selected by a v)
T phi:Person,Number ef
value nom Case
[1.sg]: -m, [2:sg]: -re, [3:sg]: -s,
[_,pl]: -re
Head uFeatures iFeatures Other Spellout (English)
Tpast phi:Person,Number ef
value nom Case
[1,sg]: -ed(sg), [1,pl]: -ed(pl),
[2,_]: -ed(pl), [3,sg]: -ed(sg),
[3,pl]: -ed(pl)
Tinf phi:Person,Number ef
value null Case
to
c Local Extent (LE) head
cQe Wh
T
ef(wh)
LE head
cQ, ceQ Wh
T
ef
LE head
do
ce T ef
LE head
q Case
N
phi:Person,Number
Wh
theta
d Case
N
phi:Person,Number
theta
value uD
self Case
N
phi:Person,Number
theta
LE head
release
-self (suffix)
Head uFeatures iFeatures Other Spellout (English)
there phi:Person noProject there (expletive)
's Case
N
phi:Person,Number
theta
ef(theta)
LE head
's
it Case phi:[3,sg] noProject it (expletive)
nRoot D phi:[3,sg] value uN lexical nouns
(phi-fs will percolate up)
G ef(theta)
to, from, on ef(theta)
value obq Case
to, from, on (dyadic preposition)
to, from, on .. value obq Case to, from, on .. (preposition)
crel rel
T
ef
LE head
drel Case
N
phi:Person, Number
theta
rel
cannot value uT
cannot value uD
whichrel, whatrel Case, N phi:Person, Number
theta
rel
value uT
cannot value uD
which, what

Notes:

  1. ef: (unrestricted) edge feature
  2. ef(theta/wh): edge position is restricted to theta-role bearing or wh-bearing syntactic objects.
  3. Local Extent (LE) head. (Similar idea to a phase head.)
    When fully projected, the phrase headed by the LE head defines a LE boundary.
    The current stack position will be marked (with a b = boundary) and further stack operations will not be able to search beyond the mark.

System

A version of my system can be downloaded below. It runs on Mac OS X and Linux (64 bit Ubuntu).
Instructions can be found in the README! file

Machine.zip (1MB)

Jason Ginsburg also has independently-developed Python code available here.

Derivations

For full step-by-step derivations, visit the following links.
(These webpages are automatically generated by my system.)
(Also, please visit Jason Ginsburg's page for Jason's derivations.)

Section Link
Basic sentence patterns
(Updated: September 21st 2015)
link
Derivation by Phase. Chomsky (2001).
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link
On Phases. Chomsky (2008).
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link
T-to-C Movement: Causes and Consequences. Pesetsky & Torrego (2001).
(Updated: September 21st 2015)
link
Explaining TH/EX (Sobin, 2014)
and TH/EX, Agreement, and Case in Expletive Sentences (Sobin, Syntax: to appear).
(Updated: September 21st 2015)
link
Computation with doubling constituents: Pronouns and antecedents in Phase Theory. (Fong & Ginsburg, 2012).
(Updated: September 21st 2015)
link
Modeling of Coreference Relations in Multi-Object Constructions. (Fong & Ginsburg, 2012b).
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link
A New Approach to Tough-Constructions (Fong & Ginsburg,2014). (1) Doubling constituent approach
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link1
A New Approach to Tough-Constructions (Fong & Ginsburg,2014). (2) Case Theoretic approach.
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link2
Relative clauses (Gallego, 2010).
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link
A Minimalist account of reconstruction asymmetries (Munn, 1994).
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link
Test cases from A Course in GB Syntax (Lasnik & Uriagereka,1988).
(Updated: September 21st 2015.)
link
Some Arabic examples (Monica Larcom & Sandiway Fong)
(Updated: April 24th 2015.)
link
Some Japanese examples (Gustave Hahn-Powell & Sandiway Fong) link
Persian (Trevor Sullivan & Sandiway Fong)
March 12th 2016.
link