Chapter 2. Null subjects and finite control in Brazilian Portuguese

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The paper discusses the restricted distribution and interpretation of “referential” null subjects in Brazilian Portuguese (BP). It shows that referential null subjects in BP behave like obligatorily controlled PRO and argues, following Hornstein (1999, 2001), that they should be analyzed as traces (deleted copies) of A-movement. The proposal is that with the weakening of the verbal inflection in BP, finite Ts became ambiguous in bearing a complete or an incomplete set of φ-features. When the incomplete version is selected in an embedded clause, T is not able to value the Case of the DP in its Spec, which then remains active and may undergo further A-movement. If the movement lands in a θ-position, we obtain a finite control construction; if the landing site is not a θ-position, we obtain a hyper-raising construction, instead.


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