Eliminating factivity from syntax
This paper contributes to the ongoing discussion on the syntax and semantics of object clauses. Using data from Hungarian and English, we claim that ‘factivity’ is a lexico-semantic concept without a direct correlate in syntax. Instead, we propose that ‘referentiality’ is the feature that differentiates a simple [CP] (the syntactic realization of a proposition) from a more complex [<i>c</i>P[CP]] (encoding a speech act). We support this analysis by looking at the interpretation of sentential embedding constructions and the distribution of clausal expletives in Hungarian. Our account allows us to appeal to the referential property of CP to explain <i>wh</i>-extraction patterns (i.e. the ‘factive island’ effect), as well as syntactic and semantic constraints on <i>wh</i>-expletive constructions.