Clause-final subjects in English and Scandinavian

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Abstract

In English and in Scandinavian, presentational expletive constructions with clause-final subjects can be derived by moving the subject to a Spec position in the C-domain, and then raising the remainder of the clause across the subject to an even higher position. The discourse properties of the clause-final subjects then follow without further stipulations. Moreover, the view that the clause-final position of the subject is the result of a phonological operation is not tenable, which means that various problems that would arise from this view are avoided after all. The differences between English constructions with clause-final subjects and their Scandinavian counterparts are consequences of the properties of the respective expletives. While the English expletive there can be the partial spellout of a subject copy, Scandinavian expletives are always syntactic elements in their own right. Two constructions that to some degree resemble the construction under discussion are shown not to be derived in a parallel fashion. For locative inversion, no analysis is given, but it is shown that it is syntactically rather different from the presentational expletive construction. For the English construction with an expletive and a divalent verb, which Chomsky (2001) takes to involve obligatory movement of
the subject to clause-final position, it is argued that it involves a verb with two internal arguments appearing in their base order. The same holds for the corresponding Norwegian construction.

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Nyckelord

Originalspråkengelska
Sidor (från-till)73-109
TidskriftNordic Journal of Linguistics
Volym32
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2009
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa