The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

Current Issue

Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 24

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 24, No. 0, pp. 127-140
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2024
Received 28 Nov 2023 Revised 16 Feb 2024 Accepted 21 Feb 2024

ATB Extraction in the Box System
Kyoungmi Lee
Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature Kyungpook National University 80 Daehak-ro, Buk-gu Daegu, Korea, Tel: 053) 950-5120 (

© 2024 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funding Information ▼


This study critically examines the well-established analyses of across-the-board (ATB) extraction, ranging from movement-based to copy-based to Merge-based approaches, within the framework of the Strong Minimalist Thesis (SMT). Merge, considered the most economical structure building operation, is expected to meet Minimal Yield (MY) by introducing the fewest possible new items into the workspace (WS). Adherence to this principle aligns Merge with SMT, whereas the previous accounts for ATB extraction deviate from MY. Chomsky (2021) provides an account for ATB extraction within the Merge framework while maintaining the segregation of A/A’-movement. However, issues stemming from this segregation lead Chomsky (2023a) to propose the box theory, aiming to eliminate distinctions between A/A’-movement. This study will delve into the box theory, identifying challenges related to ATB extraction. Utilizing precise definitions of eligibility and accessibility, we will argue that the specifier of INFL (SPEC-INFL) remains accessible to phase heads with restriction of Phase Impenetrability Condition (PIC) despite being ineligible for Merge. Additionally, we will incorporate Mizuguchi’s (2019) proposal that posits a phonetically null complementizer forms a composite head with INFL. With these refinements, ATB extraction can be successfully explained within the box system, adhering to SMT. Our analysis aligns with Chomsky’s (2023a) perspective of eliminating successive-cyclic A/A’-movement, effectively eliminating distinctions between A/A’ movement.

Keywords: across-the-board (ATB), cyclicity, box theory, Merge, Strong Minimalist Thesis (SMT)


This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF-2022S1A5B5A16050248)

1. Bošković, Ž. 2008. On successive cyclic movement and the freezing effect of feature checking. In J. Hartmann, V. Hegedűs and H. C. van Riemsdijk, eds., Sounds of Silence: Empty Elements in Syntax and Phonology, 195-233. Oxford: Elsevier.
2. Bošković, Ž. 2019. On the coordinate structure constraint and labeling. In Proceedings of the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 71-80.
3. Bošković, Ž. 2021. Merge, Move, and Contextuality of Syntax: The Role of Labeling, Successive-cyclicity, and EPP Effects. [Manuscript]. Available online at
4. Chomsky, N. 1986. Barriers. Cambridge: MIT Press.
5. Chomsky, N. 1995. The Minimalist Program. Cambridge: MIT Press
6. Chomsky, N. 2007. Approaching UG from below. In U. Sauerland and H.-M. Gärtner, eds., Interfaces + Recursion = Language?: Chomsky’s Minimalism and the View from Syntax-Semantics, 1-24. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
7. Chomsky, N. 2008. On phases. In R. Freidin, C. P. Otero and M. L. Zubizarreta, eds., Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory: Essays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud, 132-166. Cambridge: MIT Press.
8. Chomsky, N. 2013. Problems of projection. Lingua 130, 33-49.
9. Chomsky, N. 2015. Problems of projection: Extensions. In E. Di Domenico, C. Hamann and S. Matteini, eds., Structures, Strategies and Beyond: Studies in Honour of Adriana Belletti, 223, 1-16. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
10. Chomsky, N. 2020. The UCLA Lectures. [Manuscript]. Available online at lingbuzz/005485
11. Chomsky, N. 2021. Minimalism: Where are we now, and where can we hope to go. Gengo Kenkyu 160, 1-41.
12. Chomsky, N. 2023a. The Miracle Creed and SMT. [Manuscript]. Available online at
13. Chomsky, N. 2023b. Working Toward the Strong Interpretation of SMT. [Online Lecture]. Available online at
14. Chomsky, N., T. D. Seely, R. C. Berwick, S. Fong, M. A. C. Huijbregts, H. Kitahara, A. McInnerney and Y. Sugimoto. 2023. Merge and the Strong Minimalist Thesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
15. Citko, B. 2005. On the nature of merge: External merge, internal merge, and Parallel Merge. Linguistic Inquiry 36(4), 475-496.
16. Epstein, S. D., H. Kitahara and T. D. Seely. 2012. Structure building that can't be. In M. Uribe-Etxebarria and V. Valmala, eds., Ways of Structure Building, 253-270. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
17. Epstein, S. D., H. Kitahara and T. D. Seely. 2016. Phase cancellation by external pair-merge of heads. Linguistic Review 33(1), 87-102.
18. Erlewine, M. Y. 2016. Anti-locality and optimality in Kaqchikel agent focus. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 34(2), 429-479.
19. George, L. 1980. Analogical Generalization in Natural Language Syntax. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
20. Grohmann, K. 2000. Prolific Peripheries: A Radical View from the Left. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.
21. McCloskey, J. 2000. Quantifier float and wh-movement in an Irish English. Linguistic Inquiry 31(1), 57-84.
22. Mizuguchi, M. 2019. Ways of solving (counter-) cyclic A-movement in phase theory. Linguistic Research 36(3), 325-363.
23. Mizuguchi, M. 2023. MERGE, Minimal Yield, and Workspace accessibility. Linguistic Research 40(1), 27-65.
24. Nunes, J. 2001. Sideward movement. Linguistic Inquiry 32(2), 303-344.
25. Rizzi, L. 2007. On some properties of criterial freezing. Studies in Linguistics 1, 145-158.
26. Ross, J. R. 1967. Constraints on Variables in Syntax. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
27. Williams, E. 1978. Across-the-board rule application. Linguistic Inquiry 9, 31-43.