Expletives as features

  • Expletives have always been a central topic of theoretical debate and subject to different analyses within the different stages of the Principles and Parameter theory (see Chomsky 1981, 1986, 1995; Lasnik 1992, 1995; Frampton and Gutman 1997; among others). However, most analyses center on the question how to explain the behavior of expletives in A-chains (such as there in English or Þad in Icelandic). No account relates wh-expletives (as one finds them in so-called partial wh-movement constructions in languages such as Hungarian, Romani, and German) to expletives in Achains. In this paper, I argue that the framework of the Minimalist Program opens up the possibility of accounting for expletive-associate relations in A-/A'-chains in a unified manner. The main idea of the unitary analysis is that an expletive is an overtly realized feature bundle that is (sub)extracted from its associate DP. There in an expletive-associate chain is a moved D-feature which orginates inside the associate DP. Similarily, in A'-chains, the whexpletive originates as a focus-/wh-feature in the wh-phrase with which it is associated. This analysis provides evidence for the feature-checking theory in Chomsky (1995). The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 contains the discussion of expletive there. In section 3 I suggest an analysis for whexpletives, and I also explore whether this analysis can be extended to relations between X°-categories such as auxiliary and participle complexes.

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Author:Joachim Sabel
Parent Title (German):Proceedings of the 19th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 19), pp. 411-424
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Year of Completion:2000
Year of first Publication:2000
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2006/03/14
First Page:411
Last Page:424
Source:Proceedings of the 19th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 19), pp. 411-424
Institutes:Neuere Philologien / Neuere Philologien
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 40 Sprache / 400 Sprache
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht