Much recent work in minimalism has converged on the idea that there is a phase boundary between vP and TP around the level of voice or progressive aspect (Aelbrecht 2010, Aelbrecht and Harwood 2015, Ramchand & Svenonius 2014, Harwood 2015). While this work initially focused on well-studied phenomena in English such as VP ellipsis, expletive associate constructions and VP fronting, subsequent cross-linguistic work has suggested that the same boundary can be detected in Romance languages (Sheehan & Cyrino 2022, Casalicchio & Sheehan 2022) and unrelated languages such as Turkish and Japanese and within ‘words’ as well as in periphrastic structures (Fenger 2020). The ultimate explanation for this remains open, but Ramchand (2018) proposes an account based on the semantics of event composition.

There is a tension between this claim and other work providing evidence for a v-related phase from asymmetries relating to subject/object extraction (see Cole and Hermon 1998; Bennett et al. 2012; Sato 2012, van Urk 2015; van Urk & Richard 2015). Such asymmetries seem to indicate that the v-related phase is located lower than voice/aspect, between the internal and external argument, at the level of v.

Despite these robust and recurrent empirical patterns, the whole notion of phases remains somewhat controversial within generative grammar, and the idea that there is a v-related phase in addition to a C-related phase even more so (see Keine 2019). The evidence for successive cyclicity in this lower phase has been questioned (Zeijlstra & Keine 2020) and there is a certain sense of unease regarding the fragility of phasal diagnostics and their uneasy relationship with extraction restrictions (Boeckx & Grohmann 2007).

Invited speakers

Paula Fenger (Leipzig University)
Stefan Keine (UCLA)
Sana Kidwai (University of Cambridge)
Helen Koulidobrova (Central Connecticut State University)
Gillian Ramchand (UiT, The Arctic University of Norway)
Coppe van Urk (QMUL)


We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Van Riemsdijk Foundation, the Linguistics Association of Great Britain and Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics.

Organising committee

Vean Al-Saka
Gabriel Martínez Vera
Farah Nazir
Emma Nguyen
Michelle Sheehan
Rebecca Woods