In Elementary Operations and Optimal Derivations, Hisatsugu Kitahara advances Noam Chomsky's Minimalist Program (1995) with a number of innovative proposals. The analysis is primarily concerned with the elementary operations of the computational system for human language and with the principles of Universal Grammar that constrain derivations generated by that system. Many conditions previously assumed to be axiomatic are deduced from the interaction of more fundamental principles of Universal Grammar.
Kitahara first unifies disparate syntactic operations by appeal to more elementary operations. He then determines the set of optimal derivations involving only legitimate steps and demonstrates how, without stipulation, these derivations characterize a number of linguistic expressions that have long occupied the center of syntactic investigation.
This monograph also includes a clear explication of the distinct but closely related analyses presented in Chomsky's work of the early 1990s. This exposition makes the book attractive to the general linguistic reader as well as the professional syntactician.