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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 31, 2015

The logical-semantic content of subject: A configurational view from syntax and LF

  • Rafał Jurczyk EMAIL logo


The paper raises the topic of what the functional and logical notion of subject is. It examines the syntax-semantic nature of Icelandic and Polish quirky subject constructions (subjectless clauses in which the initial DP bears oblique Case) with psych-verbs. Of main interest is the full vs. default agreement on V which nominative DPs and quirky subjects always trigger, respectively. We attempt to define the primitive notion of subject from two standpoints – its LF representation and how it is mirrored syntactically by the predication relation of the subject with respect to vP/VP and the proposition of the sentence in TP between the subject and T′. We discuss the semantic and configurational dependencies between quirky subjects and nominative DPs and vP and TP/CP. The paper investigates also the landing site for non-nominative initial DPs and argues for the Topic Phrase in the Left Periphery (Rizzi 1997) as a most natural candidate to host quirky subjects. Hopefully, the conclusions reached here may offer some way of bringing the notion of subject towards its more satisfactory understanding and description within the generative approach.

Received: 2014-4-11
Revised: 2014-11-11
Accepted: 2014-11-12
Published Online: 2015-3-31

©2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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