In this article, a historical review is given of the relation between the lexicon and the computational system. Whereas in the earlier versions of generative grammar these two components of grammar are considered to be independent of each other, the minimalist program drops this assumption. It postulates that the lexical items have formal features, which trigger movement. By introducing a difference between weak and strong formal features, which determine whether a given movement must or cannot apply overtly, the phonological output of the computational system is made fully dependent on the feature specification of the lexical items. Despite the fact that this enables us to assume that the computational system is uniform across languages, which is clearly desirable from the perspective of language acquisition, I will argue that the minimalist position cannot be maintained. In order to preserve the conclusion that the computational system is fully determined by Universal Grammar, I will argue that the postulation of the distinction between weak and strong formal features must be replaced by an optimality theoretical evaluation of the output of the computational system.
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|Published - 2001