pro-drop in interrogatives and declaratives
Federica Cognola, George Walkden
June 2020

While there has been a substantial body of research on the asymmetry between main and subordinate clauses in terms of the licensing of pro-drop, potential differences between types of unembedded clause have received much less attention – despite the fact that competing theories of pro-drop make strong, clear predictions about the distribution of null subjects across clause types, especially with regard to interrogatives. This paper presents the first in-depth comparative study of pro-drop in both declaratives and interrogatives in two asymmetric pro-drop languages: Old High German and Old Italian. Based on a parallel corpus study using two translations of Tatian’s Diatessaron, we show that there is a clear difference in distribution between interrogatives and declaratives: null subjects are more frequent in declarative clauses than in interrogatives, and these also differ in terms of the persons in which pro-drop is licensed. Our results speak against the V-in-C licensing theory of asymmetric pro-drop of Benincà (1984) and Adams (1987), and in favour of an account based on an Agree relation with left-peripheral operators in the sense of Frascarelli (2007, 2018).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005289
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistik online 100(7), 95-140;
keywords: null subjects, pro-drop, interrogatives, old high german, old italian, syntax
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