Subjects, null-subjects and expletives in Romance
Michelle Sheehan
January 2015

This chapter provides an overview of the status of overt and null subjects in Spanish, Catalan, European Portuguese and Italian. The two main Minimalist approaches to null subjects imply that either: (a) the verbal morphology in null subject languages (NSLs) is pronominal (Barbosa 1995, Alexiadou & Anagnostopoulou 1998); or (b) a pronominal, which in some circumstances can be null, functions as the subject in these languages, (Sheehan 2006, Roberts 2010 amongst others). Crucially, these two approaches make very different empirical predictions regarding the status of overt subjects in pre- and postverbal position as well as the (non-)existence of null expletives, the exploration of which forms the basis of this chapter. Interestingly, it seems that while an (a)-type approach is more apt for some Romance NSLs, others require a (b)-type analysis. The role of the interfaces with morphology and information structure in licensing null subjects is also discussed.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002466
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in S. Fischer & S. Gabriel (eds.), Manuals of Romance Linguistics (MRL): Grammatical Interfaces.
keywords: null subjects, a-bar position, a position, diagnostics, rich agreement, morphology, syntax
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