On the position of subjects in Spanish



Argitaratua 1998-04-02
Antxon Olarrea


In this paper I analyze the contrast between the pre and postverbal subject positions in Spanish under the guidelines proposed in The Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995). I will claim that preverbal subjects are Clitic Left Dislocated constructions, i.e. base-generated adjuncts to the maximal inflectional projection coindexed with an empty pronominal in argument position. As a result, sentences with preverbal subjects and sentences with postverbal subjects will be analyzed as the result of different numerations. In the former case there is a pro element in the numeration that is absent in the latter. I will then propose that the positions of subjects in Spanish interrogative sentences and relative clauses can be accounted for if we assume that there is covert I-to-C movement in Spanish. Left-dislocated constituents block I-to-C movement and render preverbal subjects in interrogative constructions ungrammatical. Since this type of movement is not present in relative clauses the left-dislocated constituents (preverbal subjects, for instance) are ruled in. This hypothesis also predicts that Wh-elements that are base-generated need not be licensed by covert I-to-C and therefore will allow the presence of preverbal subjects.

How to Cite

Olarrea, Antxon. 1998. «On the Position of Subjects in Spanish». Anuario Del Seminario De Filología Vasca "Julio De Urquijo" 32 (1):47-108. https://doi.org/10.1387/asju.8707.
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