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LINGUIST List 19.413

Mon Feb 04 2008

Diss: Syntax: Beas: 'Agreement on the Left Edge: The syntax of disl...'

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        1.    Omar Beas, Agreement on the Left Edge: The syntax of dislocation in Spanish

Message 1: Agreement on the Left Edge: The syntax of dislocation in Spanish
Date: 04-Feb-2008
From: Omar Beas <obeasusc.edu>
Subject: Agreement on the Left Edge: The syntax of dislocation in Spanish
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Institution: University of Southern California
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Omar Beas

Dissertation Title: Agreement on the Left Edge: The syntax of dislocation in Spanish

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Maria Luisa Zubizarreta
Patricia Schneider-Zioga
Mario Saltarelli
Jean Roger Vergnaud
Hajime Hoji

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is an investigation of two interrelated clausal left edge
properties in the Spanish syntax: the positional effects of left edge
elements (akin to the Tobler Mussafia and Wackernagel effects) and the
availability of constituent dislocation. I focus on the syntax of preverbal
lexical subjects and their relation to the several positions in the clause.
Based on the projectionist approaches developed by Rizzi (1997), Poletto
(2000), among others, this dissertation sketches a more reduced version of
the complementizer system dubbed the Narrow Left Edge. Accordingly, the
left periphery is composed of two core projections: the Point of View
Projection (CP) and the Assertion Projection (c*P). In particular, I claim
that the phenomenon of second position placement is manifested in Modern
Spanish (cfr. Suner 1994 and Fontana 1993) and must be related to the
licensing of the c*P projection in declaratives and nondeclaratives. In
addition, the mechanics of word order dislocation shows that constituents
can be displaced to the left edge by movement or by base generation. These
two effects can be explained if an Agree relation is postulated between the
Assertion Phrase c* in the lower left edge, and the T in the inflectional

This dissertation is structured into five chapters: Chapter 1 situates the
study of Spanish word order within the theoretical framework of the
Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995, 2001). Chapter 2 establishes that there
are two patterns of preverbal subjects: canonical subjects and dislocated
subjects. Chapter 3 investigates the restriction against the simultaneous
occurrence of preverbal subjects and wh-words in interrogative clauses. I
argue that Spanish displays this restriction as a manifestation of the
second position constraint. Chapter 4 develops an analysis of Spanish
declaratives. Taking into account the distribution of assertion markers and
pronominal elements in the language, I argue that they also constitute
evidence for the activation of the second position in the clause. In
Chapter 5, I make a novel observation in the study of the dislocated
pattern of subjects by identifying the second position of the clause with
dislocation derived by movement.

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