No Vacuous Application Principle
No Vacuous Application Principle (NVAP) is a principle proposed in Marantz (1984) which states that an affix marked with a given feature value cannot attach to a stem bearing the same feature value. Marantz assumes that affixes are lexical items which have subcategorization frames indicating the category to which they attach, as well as other inherent features.
he assumes that the English passive affix -en has the lexical entry (i):
(i) -en: ]V ___, [-logical subject] [-transitive]
As a consequence of the NVAP, this affix may only be attached to stems bearing the features [+logical subject] [+transitive]. Amongst other things this will automatically prevent -en from attaching to unaccusative verbs or to passive participles, since they are [-transitive] (= cannot take a direct object) and [-logical subject] (= do not assign a semantic role to an external argument).
- Marantz, A. 1984. On the Nature of Grammatical Relations, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.
- Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.