Syntactic Recoverability of Null Arguments

Syntactic Recoverability of Null Arguments

Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Syntactic Recoverability of Null Arguments
    Book Description:

    In The Syntactic Recoverability of Null Arguments Roberge studies the syntactic properties of subject and object clitic pronouns in several Romance languages and dialects from the perspective of the Principles-and-Parameters framework in generative grammar. He is able to make important claims through a comparative study of various rarely discussed French dialects, Spanish dialects, and Italian, and concludes that French should be analysed as a null subject language like many others in the Romance family.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6229-5
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    Linguistic theory as it is understood here includes a highly structured theory of universal grammar (henceforth, UG) composed of fundamental principles and parameters. The task of the language-learner is, in a simplified sense, to set the value of the various parameters on the basis of available evidence.

    Recent developments in linguistic theory have pointed out that it is necessary to avoid very language-particular syntactic rules in favour of more general and fundamental abstract principles if the goal of linguistic theory is to account for the formal properties of natural language and how these properties are acquired by the language-learner.


  5. CHAPTER ONE Syntactic Theory and Null Arguments
    (pp. 10-34)

    I present here the theoretical framework on which the different analyses are based. In the first section emphasis is put on the system of rules and principles constituting the core of the Government and Binding framework as developed in Chomsky (1981). Some of the modifications to this system presented in Chomsky (1982), in particular the one concerning the introduction into the framework of the empty category corresponding to an overt pronominal, and in Chomsky (1986b) are assumed as well. The aim of the second section is to introduce the reader to different analyses of the so-called null subject property. We...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Null Arguments in Romance Languages
    (pp. 35-84)

    The main purpose of this chapter is to present an analysis of subject clitics in which they are base-generated under AGR of INFL.¹ After motivating this approach on the basis of cross-linguistic observations in 2.1, I will argue that the only possible filler for the subject position is a phonetically realized NP and depending on the language, pro. As we have seen in the first chapter, it is now generally accepted that null subject languages are the ones in which the external argument position can be occupied by pro. This leads to the proposal that French as well as the...

  7. CHAPTER THREE On Clitic Doubling
    (pp. 85-151)

    In this chapter I will be concerned with representation 2(1). I wish to suggest a unified account of the subject doubling construction and point out its similarities and differences with respect to object doubling (3.1 and 3.2).¹ The discussion on subject doubling is based mostly on the Northern Italian dialects and some French dialects. I want to argue that it is not desirable to establish the connection implicitly assumed in Safir (1985) between subject doubling and free inversion. Rather it seems preferable to assume the theory developed in the previous chapter, in which subject clitics are generated in the AGR...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Clitics and Agreement Markers
    (pp. 152-175)

    It is a well-known fact that weak forms of subject and object pronouns in French, Trentino, Fiorentino, Pirahā, and other languages are cliticized onto the inflected verb of their sentence. It was argued, especially in chapter 2, that subject clitics are generated in AGR of INFL where they serve the function of licensing an empty pronominal pro in external argument position. In this sense, they serve the purpose of recovering the identity of the missing information represented in syntax by the empty argument. We have also seen that this observation holds for the internal argument position associated with an object...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 176-180)

    To conclude this book, I will simply review the main theoretical proposals I have made and try to put them in the more general perspective of research in linguistic theory. The preceding work rests on the major underlying assumption that empty categories are available in natural languages. Each type of empty category is syntactically licensed in a given way. Traces are licensed by the Empty Category Principle and government theory modulates the occurrences of PRO since PRO appears only in ungoverned positions. In examining the distribution of pro both across languages and within particular grammars, I have opted for a...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 181-200)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-210)
  12. Index
    (pp. 211-217)