Syntactic Theory

Projection Principle

We have learned about the thematic structure of predicates, which determines the minimal components of which a sentence consists. Each predicate has its own theta-grid as we have seen in the section Argument Structure; the general Principle that needs to be fullfilled when thematic roles of predicates are discharged at DS is the the Theta-Criterion. The idea that lexical information of predicates enter into the syntactic structure of a sentence is captured in the Projection Principle which says that

Lexical information is syntactically represented.

To take a simple example: the contrast between a transitive verb and an intransitive verb is that the former takes an internal argument -- the object -- while the latter does not. This is lexical information that is encoded in the verb. However, structurally, i.e. syntactically, this is reflected in the fact that a transitive verb takes a complement and an intransitive verb cannot do so.