LINGUIST List 12.226

Mon Jan 29 2001

Sum: Null Subject in Coordinated Clauses

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  1. Bruno Oliveira Maroneze, Null Subject in Coordinated Clauses

Message 1: Null Subject in Coordinated Clauses

Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 19:25:11 -0200
From: Bruno Oliveira Maroneze <maroregra.net>
Subject: Null Subject in Coordinated Clauses

On December 23, 2000 I posted the folowing query to this list:

- -------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear linguists,
	I don't know if this topic has already been studied. If I am making
questions which have already been answered, please let me know and point me
the references.
	When I was studying about the null subject parameter in Brazilian
Portuguese, I became very intrigued with the fact that in coordinated
clauses, the subject of the second clause can be omitted even in
non-pro-drop languages (like English). For example, a sentence like (1) is
perfectly grammatical:

	(1) I travel a lot and see wonderful things

	In (Brazilian) Portuguese, for example, the sentence could be:

	(1a) Viajo muito e vejo coisas maravilhosas

without the subject (i. e., with omitted subject) in both clauses; or:

	(1b) Eu viajo muito e vejo coisas maravilhosas

with the subject expressed only in the first clause. Sentence (1c) is more
complicated:

	(1c) ? Eu viajo muito e eu vejo coisas maravilhosas

with both subjects expressed; sentence (1d) is agrammatical:

	(1d) * Viajo muito e eu vejo coisas maravilhosas

with only the second subject expressed.
	My first question is: in English, is the deletion of the second 
subject a case of ellipsis? If so, may we consider it a case of ellipsis 
also in (Brazilian) Portuguese? (We normally don't consider null subjects in
Portuguese as elliptical, because an ellipsis implies that the "thing being
omitted" has already been expressed, which is not always the case).
	I analysed these data in another non-pro-drop language, French. It 
seems to me that this language "behaves differently":

	(2) ?? Je voyage beaucoup et vois de tr�s belles choses

	To me, this sentence is agrammatical, but I want to check it with 
native speakers.
	My second question is: if in coordinated clauses the subject of the 
second clause can be omitted even in non-pro-drop languages, may sentence 
(2) be an argument to demonstrate that French has clitic subjects?

Bruno Oliveira Maroneze
- -------------------------------------------------------------------

First of all, I wish to thank all who responded to the query:

Ana Muller
Cilene Nunes Rodrigues
Flap
Georges Rebuschi
Gilles Bernard
Hutchinson, Larry
Joaquim Brand�o de Carvalho
John R Te Velde
Yan Huang
I hope I haven't forgotten anyone.

	Hutchinson, Rebuschi and Rodrigues told that coordinated clauses are in
fact coordinated VPs and, because of that, they need only one subject.
Rodrigues also said that correference in coordination forces the second
subject to be "null", which is an argument to the VP-coordination analysis:
(1) * O Jo�o-x dan�ou e ele-x cantou 
(2) O Jo�o dan�ou e cantou
She also suggested two works: Johnson (1994) and Zoerner & Agbayani (2001).

	Miller suggested me four works:
Duarte, Ma. Eugenia Lamoglia. MA thesis (UNICAMP). I couldn't find its title.
Cyrino, Sonia. PhD thesis (UNICAMP). I couldn't find its title.
	It claims that null subjects in Brazilian Portuguese are a case of
ellypsis. 
Munn, Allan. PhD thesis (University of Maryland). I couldn't find its title.
Negrao and Muller (DELTA). I couldn't find its title.
	It claims that empty subjects are bound variables.

	Te Velde pointed another problem: constructions like these (with a 
"null subject" non-coreferential with the first subject):
	(1) A woman-x is the Secretary of State in the U.S. and e-y could 
soon be elected president in Germany
	(2) Eine Frau-x ist Au�enminister in den USA und e-y koennte bald zur
Praesidentin in Deutschland gew�hlt werden
	are possible in English and German, while they are impossible in 
Brazilian Portuguese. He suggested me these works:
B�ring, Daniel & Katharina Hartmann. 1998. "Asymmetrische Koordination."
Linguistische Berichte 174: 172-201.
te Velde, J. 1999. "Asymmetrische Koordination? Jain! Another Look at
Subject and Object Gaps in Coordinate Structures." Groninger Arbeiten zur
Germanistischen Linguistik 43 (1999): 155-172. Groningen: Germanistisch
Instituut.

Huang suggested me his new book on anaphora:
Huang, Yan (2000). Anaphora: A Cross-linguistic Study. Oxford Studies in
Typology and Linguistic Theory.

	Rebuschi told me that the unacceptability of the sentence
Eu viajo muito e eu vejo coisas maravilhosas
can be explained if we admit that the second "eu" is emphatic
(contrastive); so, pragmatically, there cannot be any contrast between the
two subjects, as they are the same.

	Lastly, the French linguists who answered me (Flap, Bernard and 
Rebuschi) told that the sentence (2)
Je voyage beaucoup et vois de tr�s belles choses
is perfect; but Bernard and Carvalho noted that it is a literary
construction, which doesn't occur in oral French. I think that my second
question must be reformulated.

Thanks to all who answered my query!
Regards,
Bruno
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