Strong crossover

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Strong crossover is a one kind of crossover. It occurs in configurations in which a wh-element or quantificational NP undergoes A-bar movement across a pronominal which c-commands the extraction site, as in (i):

(i) *Whoi did hei see ti 

Who is moved across he in (i). The fact that he cannot be coindexed with ti (which would yield the reading: which x, x saw x), is referred to as 'strong crossover', because on the intended reading the structure is strongly ungrammatical. Since the wh-trace, being a variable, must be A-free, binding by he would constitute a Condition C violation. To be distinguished from weak crossover.



  • Chomsky, N. 1982. Some concepts and consequences of the theory of government and binding, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Chomsky, N. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding, Foris, Dordrecht.
  • Chomsky, N. 1976. Conditions on Rules in Grammar, in: Chomsky 1977a., .
  • Postal, P. 1971. Cross-over phenomena, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.
  • Wasow, T. 1972. Anaphoric relations in English, PhD diss., MIT, Cambridge MA.
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