Split noun phrases and the theory of case
Author(s)Boivin, Marie Claude, 1968-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy.
Alec P. Marantz.
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This dissertation is concerned with two puzzles in the syntax of French noun phrases. I first examine the distribution of the sub nominal clitic pronoun en. I argue that Case theory is the module of the grammar responsible for the well-known contrast in grammaticality between genitive en and quantitative en when they appear with derived (raised) subjects of unaccusative verbs. I argue that Case is a feature of the nominal head of a DP. Extraction of the nominal head by quantitative en creates a DP remnant which is incapable of checking Case, since it lacks the necessary feature. Genitive en does not extract the nominal head, and its remnant contains a Case feature. I show that Case theory makes the correct predictions regarding the distribution of genitive en and quantitative en in a large number of contexts, many of which were problematic for previous accounts in terms of Binding Theory or the Empty Category Principle (ECP). The Case theoretical approach also predicts the Definiteness Restriction on the extraction of quantitative en, as well as the obligatory narrow scope of its remnant. The second puzzle is provided by Quantification at a Distance (QAD) in French. I argue that also in this case the subject/object asymmetry observed with remnants is to be explained by Case theory. QAD remnants are deficient noun phrases and are not eligible candidates for Case Checking in the specifier of a functional projection. I show how a Case theoretical approach to QAD predicts the obligatory narrow scope of QAD remnants as well as the fact that only weak determiners are members of the beaucoup class. I propose that there are three ways of Checking Case: head movement of N, head movement of D preceded by feature movement of the Case feature to D, and DP movement. Finally I show that the analysis of en cliticization and QAD can be used to shed light on the position of subjects in Stylistic Inversion contexts. More generally the thesis is a contribution to the theory of feature checking, and provides a new approach to problems usually attributed to the ECP.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, 1999.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 139-142).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Philosophy.