Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 3(1), 43. 1-34. http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.419
We focus here on the “classic” EPP, the requirement that certain subject positions be filled, and argue that characterizing it in terms of a syntactic movement-triggering feature is misguided. Specifically, we argue that, contrary to standard assumptions but along the lines of some recent proposals, the factors conditioning the EPP are actually not syntactic, but phonological. None- theless, the operations that it seems to trigger clearly are syntactic. Under common assumptions about the architecture of the grammar, the EPP thus seems to involve a violation of modularity or strict cyclicity. A novel approach to the EPP is thus required, which must simultaneously be able to handle its unique properties but must also be made to fit in with the broader grammatical architecture. We will argue that such an approach will not only allow a more satisfactory account of the EPP itself, but can also yield a unification with the comp-trace effect and yield insight into how both of these interact with pro-drop.