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In generative syntax, a barrier is a category which serves as a blockade for government and/or movement.


The original definition (from Chomsky 1986) is:

 g is a barrier for b iff (a) or (b):
   a. g immediately dominates d, d a  Blocking Category for b
   b. g is a Blocking Category for b, g =/= IP


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Chomsky, Noam A. 1986b. Barriers. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Lasnik, H. & Saito, M. 1992. Move alpha: conditions on its application and output. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Rizzi, L. 1990. Relativized Minimality. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.