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Word Order, Parameters, and the Extended COMP Projection

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Abstract

The structure of finite CP shows some unexpected syntactic variation in the marking of finite subordinate clauses in the Indic languages, which otherwise are strongly head-final. Languages with relative pronouns also have initial complementizers and conjunctions. Languages with final yes/no question markers allow final complementizers, either demonstratives or quotative participles. These properties define three classes, one with only final CP heads (Sinhala), one with only initial CP heads (Hindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri) and others with both possibilities. The lexical differences of final vs initial CP heads argue for expanding the CP projection into a number of specialized projections, whose heads are all final (Sinhala), all initial, or mixed. These projections explain the systematic variation in finite CPs in the Indic languages, with the exception of some additional restrictions and anomalies in the Eastern group.

References

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