In this squib, I present an empirical argument from Icelandic that the movement theory of control (MTC) is on the wrong track-or at best, does not achieve what it purports to achieve. I depart from previous discussion, which has focused on the fact that Icelandic PRO bears case, and show that the MTC would require violating locality constraints on A-movement that raising infinitives do not ... [Show full abstract] violate. Since the goal of the MTCis to account for the properties of control sentences on the basis of mechanisms independently needed within the Minimalist Program, this difference in the locality domains of raising and control dependencies constitutes another challenge for the MTC.
The conclusion from the recent debate on Icelandic obligatory control (OC) (Boeckx and Hornstein 2006, Sigurðsson 2008, Bobaljik and Landau 2009, Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes 2010b) is often taken to be that Icelandic shows that OC is not movement. However, this is not quite accurate. What Icelandic shows is that control is not Case-driven movement (unless Case has nothing to do with case). This is so for two reasons. First, in their reply to Bobaljik and Landau (2009), Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (2010b) fail to address the strongest argument against Case-driven movement: that the nominative case borne by PRO is the same structural nominative as that seen in finite clauses, even by Boeckx and Hornstein's (2006) criteria (including, crucially, full agreement with passive participles). No convincing reason to believe otherwise has been presented.
Second, even in their own analysis, Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (2010b) make it clear that it is agreement with a φ-complete probe that is important, not Case valuation. The need to enter an Agree relation with a φ-complete probe is what drives movement of "quirky"-Case-marked DPs into θ-positions (under Enlightened Self-Interest; Hornstein 1999), and movement into θ-positions wipes out the Case value of the moving DP.
Therefore, a notational variant of Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes's (2010b) analysis might say that DPs need "φ-complete valuation" rather than Case valuation, and then draw some strong formal connection between certain morphological case values and agreement with different φ-complete probes, while maintaining the position that control sentences are derived by A-movement. While raising and control would then be similar in that they both involve A-movement out of an infinitive, they would differ precisely where Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (2010a,b) claim they do: only the latter involves movement into a θ-position. This claim might seem unfalsifiable, as has been noted (see Sigurðsson 2008:418-419), but it could, in principle, be correct.
However, I will argue that even this version of the MTC cannot be right for Icelandic. The facts leading to this conclusion have to do with the locality domains for movement rather than the question of PRO being case-marked. It can be shown that if control were movement, it would in some cases involve movement out of a domain from which no other kind of movement can take place, whether A-movement or Ā-movement.
Icelandic control infinitives can often occur with an optional (case-marked) pronoun það 'it', a construction analyzed by Thráinsson (1979:110-111) as object extraposition (1).
1. Þeir ákváðu (það) að PRO heimsækja they.MASC.NOM decided (it.ACC) to visit Ólaf. Olaf.ACC 'They decided to visit Olaf.'
As Thráinsson shows, Ā-extraction can occur out of a control clause only when það is not present, as illustrated for topicalization in (2).
2. Ólafi ákváðu þeir (*það) að PRO Olaf.ACCi decided they.MASC.NOM (*it.ACC) to heimsækja ti. visit ti 'Olaf, they decided to visit.'
We thus see a case where Ā-extraction is impossible out of a control clause-a case that under the MTC would have to allow A-movement out of that same clause. A-movement past this pronoun would be unexpected. If the pronoun is the head of the clause (e.g., a D taking a CP sister), then A-movement out of the clause would involve an A-over-A violation. If the pronoun...