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Theoretical Linguistics

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Editor-in-Chief: Krifka, Manfred

Ed. by Gärtner, Hans-Martin

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Referential CPs and DPs: An operator movement account

Liliane Haegeman / Barbara Ürögdi

Correspondence address: Ghent University,

Citation Information: Theoretical Linguistics. Volume 36, Issue 2-3, Pages 111–152, ISSN (Online) 1613-4060, ISSN (Print) 0301-4428, DOI: 10.1515/thli.2010.008, January 2011

Publication History

Published Online:


The empirical focus of this paper is the syntax and semantics of embedded clauses, and in particular, finite object clauses that are weak islands for extraction and incompatible with main clause phenomena (MCP). Such CPs (which subsume factive complements) have been shown to have referential properties both distributionally and in terms of their semantics (de Cuba & Ürögdi, Eliminating factivity from syntax: Sentential complements in Hungarian, John Benjamins, 2009a). By analogy with proposals for the derivation of adverbial clauses (Haegeman, Main clause phenomena and intervention, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, 2009a, English Language and Linguistics 13: 385– 408, b, The internal syntax of adverbial clauses, 2010), this paper develops a movement derivation for such referential embedded clauses. The paper updates a tradition of work on ‘reduced’ or ‘impoverished’ complement clauses and shows that their referential property can be made to follow from event relativization, which in turn accounts for the constraints on the syntax of their left periphery. Looking at the feature make-up of the operator enables us to make fine-grained predictions with respect to the availability of various MCP in these clauses. Pursuing insights due to Campbell (Studia Linguistica 50: 161–188, 1996), Aboh (The morphosyntax of complement-head sequences. Clause structure and word order patterns in Kwa, Oxford University Press, 2004: 84–90), it is proposed that both referential DPs and referential clauses (RCP) are derived by operator movement. The paper thus offers further evidence for the CP/DP parallelism.

Keywords:: CP/DP parallelism; operator movement; referentiality; intervention

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