Abstract

We study the distribution of null subjects in one Franco-Provencüal variety. These are possible in root declaratives, obligatory in embedded subject position, and impossible in root wh-questions as well as in the company of weather predicates. We approach null subjects indirectly, by investigating the distribution of one subject clitic, arguing that its optionality in some contexts is due to the possibility of moving pro to a peripheral topic position, where formal licensing is not required. We also discuss the circumstances in which an overt complementizer and a robustly inflected verb license pro, rendering the clitic redundant. The comparative interest of this dialect is that it reveals synchronically the three mechanisms of pro licensing available in Romance diachronically. These are (a) association with rich verbal inflection, (b) government by a complementizer, and (c) doubling by a clitic. We contend that the syntax is sensitive to the formal relationship between an XP and a head that these three mechanisms instantiate.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9150
Print ISSN
0024-3892
Pages
pp. 413-442
Launched on MUSE
2003-07-18
Open Access
No
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