LINGUIST List 4.190

Mon 15 Mar 1993

Disc: Pro-drop

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Directory

  1. David Gil, Tagalog Neg-Drop Typo
  2. , pro-drop
  3. Mike Maxwell 6369, Subject and object pro-drop
  4. Chris Culy, Pro drop in English, more fuel for the fire

Message 1: Tagalog Neg-Drop Typo

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 93 13:50:02 SSTagalog Neg-Drop Typo
From: David Gil <ELLGILDNUSVM.bitnet>
Subject: Tagalog Neg-Drop Typo

In my recent posting on Tagalog, I omitted a crucial "no"
at the end of the first line; of course (as the continuation
of the posting makes it clear), Dryer cites Gilligan as saying
that Tagalog has *no* subject prodrop; this is the claim that
I have attempted to refute. Apologies,

David Gil
National University of Singapore
ellgildnusvm.bitnet
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Message 2: pro-drop

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1993 15:49:34 pro-drop
From: <STARKECGEUGE51.bitnet>
Subject: pro-drop


 It seems to me that one important contribution on pro-drop is
 overlooked in the discussion: the person who initially proposed
 the pro-drop parameter, i.e. Luigi Rizzi (I think), has also analysed
 German or English-like pro-drops showing that these are different
 from the classical Italian case, and should not be subsumed under the
 same "parameter". So that we have on the one hand Italian, Spanish,
 Slovak, etc (i.e pro-drop languages) and on the other child subject drop,
 English, German, etc. Both kind of 'drop' are subject to completly
 different syntactic constraints.
 Michal Starke

 Reference:
 L. Rizzi (1992) "Child null subject and root null subject" in Geneva
 Generative Papers, volume 0, number 1/2.
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Message 3: Subject and object pro-drop

Date: 15 Mar 1993 14:49:00 -0600Subject and object pro-drop
From: Mike Maxwell 6369 <mike.maxwellsil.org>
Subject: Subject and object pro-drop


Patrick Farrel (pmfarrellucdavis.edu) asks:

> Well ... what is pro-drop?
> Suppose we define it as the phenomenon whereby a syntactic slot
> normally occupied by an NP is left empty, yielding a pronominal
> interpretation.

All during this discussion, we've been restricting attention to
subject pro-drop. But as Patrick points out, the subject position is
not the only position that can be left empty. Many Amerindian
languages (and other languages as well) exhibit empty objects.
Before someone says English does, too--the verb "eat" can appear with
or without an object--let me say that in the languages which I am
calling "object pro-drop", *any* transitive verb can appear with an
empty object. I take it that this is significantly different from
English, in which empty objects are lexically restricted. (But it's
an empirical question--one might analyze object pro-drop languages as
simply having a lexical rule that relates two forms of every
transitive verb, one with and one without an object.)

Patrick also asks:

> ...but has it actually been established that
> subject pro-drop vs not subject pro-drop is a typologically
> interesting parameter of variation among languages?

I will go out on a limb and suggest that one typological universal is
that if a language is object pro-drop, then it is subject pro-drop.
I'm ignoring the question of what the precise definition of pro-drop
is here, because I don't have an answer! But for the sake of
argument, let's say that in order for a language to be pro-drop, the
empty arguments have to occur in embedded clauses. Counterexamples?

BTW, if object pro-drop and subject pro-drop are related phenomena
(an empirical question), then the use of explitive pronouns in
non-pro-drop languages is *not* a distinguishing characteristic of
pro-drop, since languages don't seem to have explitive objects (aside
from a few cases in English, e.g. "I consider _it_ unlikely that S",
which I don't believe are paralleled in other non-object pro-drop
languages).

Mike Maxwell maxwella1.jaars.sil.org
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Message 4: Pro drop in English, more fuel for the fire

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1993 13:38:43 Pro drop in English, more fuel for the fire
From: Chris Culy <cculyvaxa.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Subject: Pro drop in English, more fuel for the fire

Here's another possible instance of pro drop in English: Massam and
Roberge in LI 20 (1989) suggested that English allows null objects in
recipes. This is strongly supported by work I did on English recipes from
a variationist point of view in 1987. Briefly, null objects in recipes
seem to have a similar distribution to overt pronouns, and over the past
couple hundred years null objects have replaced overt pronouns in recipes.
Of course, null objects can be found in other types of instructions, too
(there's a CLS paper on this from the 70's, I believe).

Chris Culy
cculyvaxa.weeg.uiowa.edu
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