The Development of the specified subject conditions and the tensed s-condition / propostional islan condition

  • Melinda Sinclair Stellenbosch University


The Specified Subject Condition (henceforth SSC) and the Tensed SCondit~ on (henceforth TSC) were proposed in the early seventies by Chomsky as principles of universal grammar, restricting the application of both syntactic movement transformations and rules of semantic interpretation. An early informal reference to these conditions can be found in (Chomsky 1971:34-40). The first detailed technical discussion of the SSC and TSC appeared in "Conditions on transformations" (henceforth (Chomsky 1973)). Since the publication of the latter work, these two conditions have played a fundamental role in the theory of universal grammar (henceforth UG) within the Chomskyan approach to the study of language. The developmental history of these two conditions in fact provides us with helpful insight into important aspects of both the substantive and the methodological developments which Chomsky's general linguistic theory has undergone within the past decade.