Empty Category Principle
Empty Category Principle (brief: ECP) is a principle which requires that empty categories be properly governed. It is assumed that the ECP does not hold of all empty categories: it holds for A- and A'-bound traces (i.e. NP-traces and variables), but not for pronominal empty categories like pro and PRO.
Well-known examples of ECP-violations are extractions of an adjunct out of an island, as in (i) (containing a wh-island) and configurations displaying the that-trace effect in English, as in (ii). In both cases, the trace cannot be properly antecedent-governed because of the intervention of a barrier.
(i) * howi did John ask [ whether Bill fixed the car ti ] (ii) * whoi does John believe [ that ti will fix the car ]
- Chomsky, N. 1986b. Barriers, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
- Chomsky, N. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding, Foris, Dordrecht.
- Lasnik, H. and M. Saito 1992. Move alpha: conditions on its application and output, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
- Lasnik, H. and M. Saito 1984. On the nature of proper government, Linguistic Inquiry 15, pp. 235-289
- Rizzi, L. 1990. Relativized Minimality, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
- German Leerkategorienprinzip