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Title: Agreement on the left edge: The syntax of left dislocation in Spanish
Authors: Beas, Omar
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Romance Languages
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: University of Southern California
Abstract: viii Abstract This dissertation is an investigation of two interrelated clausal left edge properties in the Spanish syntax: the positional effects of left edge elements (akin to the Tobler Mussafia and Wackernagel effects) and the availability of constituent dislocation. I focus on the syntax of preverbal lexical subjects and their relation to the several positions in the clause. Based on the projectionist approaches developed by Rizzi (1997), Poletto (2000), among others, this dissertation sketches a more reduced version of the complementizer system dubbed the Narrow Left Edge. Accordingly, the left periphery is composed by two core projections: the Point of View Projection (CP) and the Assertion Projection (c*P). In particular, I claim that the phenomenon of second position placement is manifested in Modern Spanish (cfr. Suñer 1994 and Fontana 1993) and must be related to the licensing of the c*P projection in declaratives and nondeclaratives. In addition, the mechanics of word order dislocation shows that constituents can be displaced to the left edge by movement or by base generation. These two effects can be explained if an Agree relation is postulated between the Assertion Phrase c*º in the lower left edge, and Tº in the inflectional layer. This dissertation is structured into five chapters: Chapter 1 situates the study of Spanish word order within the theoretical framework of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995, 2001). Chapter 2 establishes that there are two patterns of preverbal lexical subjects: canonical subjects and dislocated subjects. Chapter 3 investigates the restriction against the simultaneous occurrence of preverbal subjects and wh- words in interrogative clauses. I argue that Spanish displays this restriction as a manifestation of the second position constraint. Chapter 4 develops an analysis of Spanish declaratives. Taking into account the distribution of assertion markers and pronominal elements in the language, I argue that they also constitute evidence for the activation of the second position in the clause. In Chapter 5, I make a novel observation in the study of the dislocated pattern of subjects by identifying the second position of the clause with dislocation derived by movement.
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