## Pro-drop in interrogatives and declaratives : A parallel study of Old High German and Old Italian

2019
Journal article
Published
##### Published in
Linguistik Online ; 100 (2019), 7. - pp. 95-140. - eISSN 1615-3014
##### Abstract
While there has been a substantial body of research on the asymmetry between main and subordinate clauses in terms of the licensing of pro-drop, potential differences between types of unembedded clause have received much less attention – despite the fact that competing theories of pro-drop make strong, clear predictions about the distribution of null subjects across clause types, especially with regard to interrogatives. This paper presents the first in-depth comparative study of pro-drop in both declaratives and interrogatives in two asymmetric pro-drop languages: Old High German and Old Italian. Based on a parallel corpus study using two translations of Tatian’s Diatessaron, we show that there is a clear difference in distribution between interrogatives and declaratives: null subjects are more frequent in declarative clauses than in interrogatives, and these also differ in terms of the persons in which pro-drop is licensed. Our results speak against the V-in-C licensing theory of asymmetric pro-drop of Benincà (1984) and Adams (1987), and in favour of an account based on an Agree relation with left-peripheral operators in the sense of Frascarelli (2007, 2018).
##### Subject (DDC)
400 Philology, Linguistics
##### Cite This
ISO 690COGNOLA, Federica, George WALKDEN, 2019. Pro-drop in interrogatives and declaratives : A parallel study of Old High German and Old Italian. In: Linguistik Online. 100(7), pp. 95-140. eISSN 1615-3014. Available under: doi: 10.13092/lo.100.6020
BibTex
@article{Cognola2019Prodr-48172,
year={2019},
doi={10.13092/lo.100.6020},
title={Pro-drop in interrogatives and declaratives : A parallel study of Old High German and Old Italian},
number={7},
volume={100},
journal={Linguistik Online},
pages={95--140},
author={Cognola, Federica and Walkden, George}
}

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<dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">While there has been a substantial body of research on the asymmetry between main and subordinate clauses in terms of the licensing of pro-drop, potential differences between types of unembedded clause have received much less attention – despite the fact that competing theories of pro-drop make strong, clear predictions about the distribution of null subjects across clause types, especially with regard to interrogatives. This paper presents the first in-depth comparative study of pro-drop in both declaratives and interrogatives in two asymmetric pro-drop languages: Old High German and Old Italian. Based on a parallel corpus study using two translations of Tatian’s Diatessaron, we show that there is a clear difference in distribution between interrogatives and declaratives: null subjects are more frequent in declarative clauses than in interrogatives, and these also differ in terms of the persons in which pro-drop is licensed. Our results speak against the V-in-C licensing theory of asymmetric pro-drop of Benincà (1984) and Adams (1987), and in favour of an account based on an Agree relation with left-peripheral operators in the sense of Frascarelli (2007, 2018).</dcterms:abstract>
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