The complementary distribution between PRO and lexical subjects



Argitaratua 2007-04-12
Itziar San Martín


This paper presents an account of one of the problems regarding the distribution of controlled subjects: the complementary distribution between PRO and lexical DPs. The growing evidence showing that both types of subjects appear in configurations of regular Case suggests discarding the traditional idea that the distributional issue at hand is directly related to Case. In this paper, I spell out the traditional but vague idea that the T-Probe in Control is more defective than the T-Probe that licenses Lexical Subjects. Briefly, I suggest that T in Control is Partial in the sense that it lacks the [person] feature that is present in lexical subjects licensing.

The paper has 7 parts. It starts by deciding that the object of study in this paper is the null subject involved in genuine Control relations, namely those motivated by Exhaustive Control predicates rather than by Partial Control predicates. In Section 3 I review the problem of the distribution of PRO and I outline the main solutions that have been suggested in the literature. Section 4 gathers evidence that demonstrates that PRO receives regular Case. This suggests discarding the proposals outlined in the previous section as valid both on empirical and theoretical grounds. Section 5 starts to reveal the ingredients responsible for the complementary distribution of PRO and lexical subjects: the categorial status of the embedded clause. Specifically, I show that Control predicates take TPs and not CPs as has been standardly assumed. Section 6 presents the Basque infinitival paradigm in detail, which will be crucial to show that Control T is Partial in the sense that it lacks the [person] feature that is present in DP subject licensing. Finally, section 7 explains why PRO and lexical subjects are only compatible with Partial-T and Complete-T, respectively.

Nola aipatu

San Martín, Itziar. 2007. «The Complementary Distribution Between PRO and Lexical Subjects». Anuario Del Seminario De Filología Vasca "Julio De Urquijo" 41 (1):139-74.
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