Vacuous Movement Hypothesis

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Vacuous Movement Hypothesis is the hypothesis that movement is blocked unless it affects the (linear) order of the string it applies to.


This hypothesis entails that the wh-subject in who killed her? is not moved to the specifier position of the CP (as is the standard assumption for wh-questions), but remains in situ.



  • Chomsky, N. 1986b. Barriers, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • George, L. 1980. Analogical Generalization in Natural Language, diss. MIT (1981).
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