Coconstrual and narrow syntax

This essay explores the place of coconstrual relations, such as antecedent-anaphor relations, in a theory of grammar informed by minimalist architecture. It has been argued that the logical space created by minimalist theorizing should favor an account of coconstrual derived from the tree-building operations of narrow syntax (Agree, feature theory, Merge and its subcase, Remerge), dispensing with rules or conditions that evaluate constructed trees. On such an account, it is argued, the explanatory power of narrow syntax is enhanced and the role of the interpretive component can be circumscribed. However, if coconstrual cannot be reduced to the derivational relations of narrow syntax, then we must be prepared to reevaluate the role of syntax-sensitive interpretive rules, balancing the need for such rules against any complication of narrow syntax mechanisms just to account for coconstrual. It will be argued that dependent identity relations, the form of coconstrual that is sensitive to syntactic configurations, must be interpreted from the output of narrow syntax and are not expressed within narrow syntax at all. This result unburdens narrow syntax of a class of relations that bring theoretical and empirical complications, while providing a more elegant account of coconstrual in a broader conception of the interpretive interface.
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