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Null Expletives and Case: The View from Romance

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on lexical subjects in non-finite domains and, following Chomsky (2006, 2008), provides an account of structural Case reliant on the phase head. I argue that agreement, understood as uninterpretable phi-features (i.e., u&#966;), is not compulsory for either Case licensing or for obtaining a Case value. Nonetheless, I show that the presence of u&#966; on the probing domain will ensure a Nominative value, while its absence will constrain the DP to an Accusative value. I propose that a null expletive checking the EPP feature will trigger Nominative subjects whenever (C)-T lacks u&#966;, specifically, in non-finite domains, such as infinitives and gerunds. I offer evidence for expletive <i>pro </i>as a UG primitive from Romanian binding facts and provide an analysis of Case valuation in this language. Lastly, I discuss micro-parametric variation in subject lexicalization within null expletive languages.

References

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