Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 95–128 | Cite as

Proper government of antecedentless VP in English and Spanish

  • Karen Zagona


It has been argued that null VP structures in English occur where they are properly governed by INFL. Proper government was shown to be satisfied by INFL where it is lexically headed and it fully θ-marks VP: that is, it both assigns a θ-role to VP and assigns a referential index to VP in the form of identification for a time — a value for the feature [PAST]. This latter requirement, which is not fully met when INFL is [-TENSE], accounts for the restricted distribution of null VP in infinitives. In clauses with auxiliaries, Head-Head Agreement allows the Minimality condition to be observed, and allows a non-sister of INFL (or of perfectivehave) to be θ-governed.

The absence of null VP structures in Spanish follows from the manner of predicative θ-role assignment, which is mediated through head-head coindexing. This claim is supported by the pattern of V0 movement of auxiliaries and by clitic placement options in clauses with auxiliaries. Since INFL does not directly θ-mark VP, the VP dominating an auxiliary is not L-marked, and therefore it remains a barrier to government of a VP2 by INFL. Therefore, null VP constructions cannot occur in Spanish, since neither INFL itself, nor an INFL-V0 chain can properly govern the null VP.


Artificial Intelligence Minimality Condition Restricted Distribution Placement Option Proper Government 
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 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Zagona
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Romance Languages, GN-60University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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