The syntactic function of the auxiliaries of time

H. Broekhuis, Kees van Dijk

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In Chomsky's Minimalist Program for Linguistic Theory (MPLT), movement is
constrained by a locality theory on chain-links.1 Briefly stated, it is assumed that
a constituent y may cross any position (3 and move to a position a, as long as á
and â are equidistant from 7. As Chomsky demonstrates, this locality theory has
several highly desirable consequences. However, Chomsky restricts his
discussion to examples in the present tense, and at first sight it seems that his
proposal does not carry over to the complex tenses. From this, several students
have concluded that Chomsky's locality theory should be abandoned (Zwart
1993). In this article, however, we will adopt Chomsky's proposal and
investigate the consequences for the description of the perfect tense. Further, we
will briefly address the question whether the auxiliaries should be considered as
semantically vacuous or not.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLinguistics in The Netherlands 1995
EditorsMarcel Den Dikken, Kees Hengeveld
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1995



  • perfect tense
  • auxiliaries
  • locality

Cite this

Broekhuis, H., & van Dijk, K. (1995). The syntactic function of the auxiliaries of time. In M. Den Dikken, & K. Hengeveld (Eds.), Linguistics in The Netherlands 1995 (pp. 37-48). John Benjamins Publishing.