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On the composite nature of subject islands: a phase-based approach

 

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Author: Jiménez Fernández, Ángel Luis
Department: Universidad de Sevilla. Departamento de Filología Inglesa (Lengua Inglesa)
Date: 2009
Published in: SKY Journal of Linguistics, 22, 91-138.
Document type: Article
Abstract: This paper focuses on the complex factors which render subject domains opaque to subextraction. Subjects have been held to be islands for extractability possibilities. Gallego & Uriagereka (2006) suggest that sub-extraction is banned from subjects when they occupy the specifier position of TP because TP is a phase in Romance. By contrast, I show that this is not the right constraint in languages such as Spanish or Italian, in which sub-extraction is licit from both post-verbal and pre-verbal subjects. In addition, English and other non-Romance languages also instantiate cases of sub-extraction from subjects, irrespective of their pre-verbal or post-verbal position. Building on Chomsky’s (2008) notion of phase, I propose that DPs may be strong or weak phases depending on two major discourse-related factors; namely, Definiteness and Discourse-Linking. Thus, sub-extraction from a weak DP phase is possible if the DP is marked as indefinite and discourse-linked.
Cite: Jiménez Fernández, Á.L. (2009). On the composite nature of subject islands: a phase-based approach. SKY Journal of Linguistics, 22, 91-138.
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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11441/16612

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