Spanish (Iberian, Canarian, Caribbean: Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban), Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Galician, Leonese,
Asturian, Aragonese, Catalan, Occitan, Francoprovençal, French, Rhaeto-Romance (Romansch and Ladin); Old French, Middle French, Old Spanish,
Old Catalan, Old Occitan, Old Francoprovençal.
Starting point of the project:
The project investigates the occurrence of pronouns in impersonal constructions in a variety of Romance languages is d. We assume a parametrically defined correlation between the existence of overtly realized expletive pronouns and the non-null subject property (e.g. FR il pleut and GER es regnet). This notwithstanding, there are various varieties in the Romance languages deviating from this correlation. Diachronically, this holds for French, which was originally characterized by the null subject property and which had featured lexically realized expletive pronouns a long time before it lost the null subject property:
Synchronically, null subject languages within the Modern Romance languages like Portuguese, Galician or Spanish have varieties featuring overtly realized pronouns in impersonal constructions:
On the other hand, in Romance non-null subject languages like French and Romansch (e.g. Surselvan), there are certain contexts in which expletive pronouns are/have to be omitted:
On the basis of impersonal constructions of Romance languages we hope to gain insight into the representation of semantically "empty" expressions in the lexicon of a language as well as into the kind of morpho-syntactic properties they have.
Data and Methods:
The theoretical framework for the investigations of this project is the generative Principles and Parameters theory. Not least of all because of the postulate of the autonomy of the syntax does this theory constitute a suitable model to grasp functions and properties of semantically "empty" elements.
letztes Update: 16.02.2009