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Rethinking clausal asymmetries

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Abstract

This paper proposes a theoretically minimal analysis of cataphoric propositional pronoun insertion in complex sentences in Hungarian, based on the realization of the SpecCP in the embedded clause. In accordance with Chomsky (2008), we assume that the derivation of SpecCP results from the instantiation of the edge-feature in C. We argue that syntax universally provides two clause types: those with an edge-feature (EF) in C, and those lacking an edge-feature in C. As propositional pronoun insertion is dependent on the availability of SpecCP, it is only possible in [+EF]-clauses. In our modular framework, we regard the EF as semantically vacuous, although it can be associated with different semantic contents in different languages. In Hungarian, the semantic content of the EF can be rendered in terms of predicationality. As we demonstrate, pronoun insertion has information-structural effects in Hungarian, a fact that can be seen as an immediate consequence of the claimed correlation between the EF and predicationality.

References

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