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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The syntactic recoverability of null arguments Roberge, Yves


In most natural languages, a sentence may include a variety of missing elements the recoverability of which is made possible by different processes. This thesis investigates the type of syntactic recoverability found in null argument languages. It is supposed that the mechanisms responsible for this type of recoverability are deeply embedded in Universal Grammar and that this suggests that there is no need for a parameter designed to allow empty arguments per se. The main goal pursued here is to present a systematic account of the similarities between recoverability through verbal agreement and recoverability through clitics. This results in the proposal that languages with subject clitics and/or object clitics are the same as languages with rich subject agreement and/or object agreement as far as the licensing of the empty pronominal pro is concerned. We then examine the relationship between clitics and overt NPs in the so-called clitic doubling constructions. The hypothesis defended here is that subject clitics and object clitics are surface realizations of the same abstract element and that this can account for the symmetry existing between various types of clitic regarding the licensing of pro, the possibilities for doubling, and extractions out of doubling constructions at S-structure and at LF.

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