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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 1, 2014

On the various sizes of complementizers

  • Lena Baunaz EMAIL logo
From the journal Probus


This paper argues that there are three complementizers que ‘that’ in French, the distinction between which is disguised by the fact that they are all phonetically realized as /kə/. Each complementizer has a different feature composition contingent on the selecting context (veridical/non-veridical). I draw a parallelism between wh-elements and the complementizer que ‘that’, and show that que ‘that’ has different properties sensitive to quantificational features, along the lines of Starke (2001). More precisely, que ‘that’ can have a “bigger” or a “smaller” feature structure (regardless of the clause structure) depending on the selecting environment it appears in (i.e. veridical, non-veridical). This property interacts with extraction phenomena under Relativized Minimality (RM) (Rizzi 2004), provided that RM is understood as a constraint on (a hierarchically organized bundle of) features rather than “structural type”, and thus accounts for the difference in extraction possibilities for wh-items from the different types of que-clauses. My proposal is extended to Modern Greek.

Published Online: 2014-4-1
Published in Print: 2015-9-1

©2015 by De Gruyter Mouton

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