Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 121–174 | Cite as

On a type of argument-island in French

  • Laurie Zaring


The syntactic relation of ‘sister to a theta-marking head’ plays a crucial role in recent accounts of long-distancewh-dependencies: when this relation holds for a given phrase, it does not act as a syntactic island but allows long distance dependencies. The present study examines French verbal arguments preceded byà andde, which appear to contradict this. These internal arguments are apparent sisters to their verb in the majority of cases; nonetheless, they constitute islands forwh-extraction out of them. I argue that the islandhood of these arguments is a result of their syntactic status as sister to V′ rather than V0, which in turn stems from their being mapped from the lexicon onto the syntax by means of non-canonical correspondence rules. Drawing on Jackendoff's (1990) Conceptual Structure, I propose that non-canonical mapping rules cannot create relationships of direct selection, in Cinque's (1990) sense. The syntax ofà andde complements thus confirms both the importance of the structural notion of ‘sister to a theta-marking head’ and the crucial role of non-canonical rules in mapping lexical structure onto syntactic structure.


Crucial Role Artificial Intelligence Direct Selection Syntactic Structure Conceptual Structure 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie Zaring
    • 1
  1. 1.Delaware

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