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Some notes on falloir, devoir, and the theory of control*

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Abstract

This article sheds new light on the structure and meaning of sentences containing the French modal verbs <i>devoir</i> and <i>falloir</i>, as well as on the syntax and semantics of Control generally. Well-known and previously unnoticed empirical facts are examined that support the author&#8217;s novel contention that <i>falloir</i> and <i>devoir</i> are syntactically and semantically ambiguous. These data are also argued to offer indirect support for the analysis of Control clauses recently developed in Reed (2014: Ch. 6 and 7), according to which there is a theoretical primitive (pro) and it is associated with a &#8220;minimal&#8221; feature bundle consisting of just [&#8722;expletive] and [&#43;N] syntactic features, with a separate, post-syntactic Theory of Control determining its understood phi-features.

References

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