In syntax, an island is a domain which does not allow extraction. Most of the islands distinguished today were first described in Ross (1967).
Well-known examples are wh-islands, Complex NP's and coordinate structures. The restrictions on extractability (Island conditions) are often designated as the Wh-island Condition, the Complex NP Constraint (CNPC), and the Coordinate Structure Constraint (CSC), respectively. See Bounding theory.
The term was introduced by Ross (1967).
- Ross, John R. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax, doctoral dissertation, MIT (published as 'Infinite syntax!' Ablex, Norwood (1986)).