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Rethinking Verb Second$
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Rebecca Woods and Sam Wolfe

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844303

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844303.001.0001

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Null subjects in Old Italian

Null subjects in Old Italian

(p.325) 14 Null subjects in Old Italian
Rethinking Verb Second

Cecilia Poletto

Oxford University Press

In this work the complex distribution of null subjects in Old Florentine of the thirteenth century is analysed. The main theoretical question answered is the following: what are the factors that rule the distribution of null and lexical pronominal subjects in Old Italian? It is well known that there are differences between Modern and Old Italian which show that it is not possible to apply the standard view on pro drop to Old Italian. The data cannot be explained by the traditional proposal that the inflected verb licenses pro drop when it is in C°, since pro drop can also occur in non-V2 contexts. It is argued that the complex distribution of Old Italian null subjects can only be made sense of if the null subject depends on different types of null topics which have different licensing conditions in main clauses and embedded clauses.

Keywords:   null subject, main clause, null topic, embedded clause, licensing condition

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