Subject intervention in free relatives
Subject intervention in wh-questions has been reported for several Romance varieties. The case we focus on here is free relatives. In Italian/French an object free relative introduced by <i>chi</i>/<i>qui</i> is degraded if a preverbal subject intervenes, much like the corresponding wh-question. However, pronominal relatives introduced by <i>ciò che</i>/<i>ce que</i> do not show a subject intervention effect. Moreover, in other languages, including English, free relatives display no subject intervention effect whatsoever. In this paper we address the following questions:<i> (i)</i> Why do subject intervention effects emerge in direct questions and in free relatives in Italian, French (and other Romance varieties)?<i> (ii)</i> Why don’t they arise in pronominal relatives?<i> (iii)</i> Why don’t they arise in languages like English?To answer these questions, we capitalize on the concept of Gross Minimality (Cecchetto & Donati, 2015) and on the observation that English free relatives are modeled after <i>indirect</i> questions.