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International Journal of Romance Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Wetzels, W. Leo

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Volume 27, Issue 1


French adverbial clauses, rescue by ellipsis and the truncation versus intervention debate

J.-Marc Authier
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  • French & Francophone Studies and Linguistics Program, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802-6203, United States
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/ Liliane Haegeman
Published Online: 2014-04-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/probus-2013-0018


This paper investigates the restrictions on movement to the left periphery found in non-root environments such as French central adverbial clauses and argues that an analysis of main clause phenomena based on intervention/Relativized Minimality is to be preferred to one based on structural truncation. The empirical basis for this claim consists of an examination of some asymmetries between French infinitival TP ellipsis and infinitival TP Topicalization. Adopting Authie's (2011) approach to TP ellipsis whereby the to-be-elided TP undergoes fronting in the computational component but fails to be spelled out at PF, we argue that these asymmetries follow from the fact that in French, while a spelled out fronted TP is an intervener for wh-movement in adverbial clauses, leading to a PF crash, the ellipsis of this fronted TP leads to a convergent derivation via Bošković's (2011) mechanism of “rescue by PF deletion.” This account entails that adverbial clauses involve wh-movement (Haegeman 2006, among others) and that the landing site for TP Topicalization is available in a non-root environment, two conclusions that militate against the hypothesis that non-root clauses have an impoverished left periphery.

Keywords: ellipsis; intervention effects; left periphery; main clause phenomena; PF deletion; truncation

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Published Online: 2014-04-01

Published in Print: 2015-05-01

Citation Information: Probus, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 33–71, ISSN (Online) 1613-4079, ISSN (Print) 0921-4771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/probus-2013-0018.

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