Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 489–526 | Cite as

The order of verbal complements: A comparative study

  • Adriana Belletti
  • Ur Shlonsky


Hebrew and Italian manifest a relative freedom in the ordering of complements in double complement constructions. Hypothesizing that the base order is NP PP, we proceed to delineate the transformational processes involved in the derivation of the alternative PP NP order. This leads us to identify a strategy of structural focalization involving a Focus projection which we take to be responsible for the derivation of a subset of the structures displaying the order PP NP. We discuss the interaction of this strategy with ‘subject inversion’ which we interpret as also involving structural focalization. Differences between Hebrew and Italian are correlated with the linear position of Spec/FocusP in the clause structure and the availability or non-availability ofpro in object position. It is observed that the range of options open to heavy objects is greater than that available to non-heavy or light objects. We claim that the order PP NPheavy does not submit to a uniform analysis and that a process of heavy NP Shift must be admitted alongside a process shifting the PP over NPheavy.


Artificial Intelligence Transformational Process Object Position Heavy Object Base Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana Belletti
    • 1
  • Ur Shlonsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Université de Genève and Università per stranieriPerugia

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