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Title: Italian arbitrary external arguments in active and passive clauses
Authors: Bianchi, Valentina
Keywords: Arbitrary interpretation
Implicit arguments
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Venice : Center for Language Sciences
Abstract: In this squib I compare the properties of arbitrary plural pro in subject position in Italian with those of the implicit external argument of a ‘short passive’. I show that the two types of null arbitrary arguments display the same quantificational variability, but differ crucially with respect to inclusiveness: the arbitrary null subject of an active clause only allows for an exclusive interpretation, i.e. excluding the speaker and hearer(s), whereas the implicit agent of a short passive readily allows for an inclusive interpretation. I hypothesize that this is due to the fact that in active clauses, the null arbitrary subject checks a [person] feature against the phi-complete T probe; in short passives, instead, the null agent, even if syntactically realized – as proposed by Collins (2005) – cannot Agree with a phi-complete probe endowed with [person]: this underspecification explains why its interpretation is not restricted so as to exclude speaker and hearer(s).
Appears in Collections:Rivista di Grammatica Generativa : Research in Generative Grammar (RGG)

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