Null subjects: a reanalysis of the data.
In the face of problems with previous syntactic theories, this article (1) establishes a new concept relating to the incidence of null thematic pronouns, focusing on null thematic subjects. The data indicate that, in rich agreement languages with null subjects, prima facie, recovery of such subjects is achieved first by reference to discrete agreement and, if this fails, by reference to an antecedent in context. Subsequently, preferred interpretations are resorted to and then overt pronouns. The argument is developed to show that every language has its point of morphological maximality. This is the maximum point up to which identifying subject verb agreement can occur in a language and this level of verbal agreement must be present for thematic subjects to be null. This point is scalar, being represented by morphology for gender, person and number in Tarifit, for person and number in Spanish, for person in Bengal and null morphology in Chinese. A further necessary feature for thematic null subjects to occur is that an antecedent in context completes their recovery. Whether this occurs or not is put down to the contextual weakness and strength of languages. This theory has the consequence that the licensing of thematic subjects is redundant and that null expletive subjects need to be treated as a separate empty category.
The incidence of covert pronouns has been one of the more notable areas for generative grammar research over recent decades. The pre-eminent early contribution, that of Rizzi (1986), saw covert pronouns as licensed by a governing head and recovered by the features of that head (effectively AGRs in the case of null subjects). This approach faced problems as Chinese and Japanese, inter alia, have null subjects without verbal agreement for person and number. These initially appeared to be resolved by C-T. J. Huang's (1984) operator variable analysis, according to which object and subject empty categories in those languages are variables bound by a preceding overt or covert topic. However, Xu (1986) and Xu and Langedoen 0985) observed that this analysis falls foul of the requirements of subjacency, the bijection principle and the strong crossover condition in certain environments in Chinese (2). Also, Y. Huang (2000) points out that the main idea upon which it is based, namely that null objects of complement clauses in languages lacking verb object agreement cannot have a matrix clause subject as an antecedent, is not always the case. C-T. J. Huang (1989) also produced his generalized control rule, which required pro/PRO to be controlled in its control domain if it has one. The control domain is closely associated with the idea of an accessible SUBJECT and means that, in Chinese, pro/PRO must be identified by a nominal in a higher domain. Y. Huang (2000) observes that the rule does not work universally in Chinese, citing, inter alia, the following example:
(1) Xiaohong de meimei shuo [??] xihuan tan gangpin.
Xiaohong GEN younger-sister say like play piano
'Xiaohong 1's younger sister 2 says that (I/you/he/she 1/2/3]/we/they) like(s) to play the piano.'
Finally, Chinese has an as yet unexplained expletive null subject, as in Example (2): (3)
(2) Haoxiang ta mei jin guo cheng.
Seems he not go-to PAST town
'It seems that he did not go to town.'
In the face of this problem, Jaeggli and Safir (1989) argued that null subjects are permitted in morphologically uniform languages, namely those with either only derived or only underived forms in their verb paradigms (like Chinese). This was found to be unsatisfactory in the face of evidence that, inter alia, morphologically uniform Norwegian, Swedish and Danish lack null subjects.
Speas (1994) proposed that the expression or otherwise of null subjects is determined by whether the [??] features in [I.sup.O] have some specification. If they lack such specification, they must be given value through the spec/head relationship. Languages with poor agreement do not allow null subjects, since null subjects do not provide value to such agreement. In languages lacking subject verb agreement (like Chinese), null subjects may occur because there is no agreement to give value to. Speas accounts for the lack of null subjects in Swedish by observing that, while it has no verb subject agreement, it does possess some adjectival agreement. However, the logical connection between adjectival agreement and the expression or otherwise of subject or object pronouns is unclear. Furthermore, as Neeleman and Szendroi (2007) observe, Afrikaans lacks agreement altogether and also null subjects, while Speas herself states that Papiamentu, Duka and Guyami, which prima facie have no subject verb agreement and no null subjects, require further research before the theory can be properly substantiated in relation to them. To these one can add Songhay, as shown by Kameyama (1985), and Fon and Vata, as reported by Law (1993), which also lack subject verb agreement and null subjects.
Tomioka (2003) proposes that null subjects occur in languages that allow (robust) bare NP arguments. In his view, languages can delete NPs providing this does not strand determiners. However, Neeleman and Szendroi (2007) rightly question why it should be only the stranding of determiners by NP deletion that blocks null subjects, and why such null subjects should not also be blocked by the fact that NP deletion would also strand functional heads like sentence function particles wa, ga and o in Japanese. Also, by the same logic, why should not NP deletion and by extension null subjects also be wrongly ruled out by the stranding of the classifiers with which the count nouns in Chinese are obligatorily merged.
Facing these difficulties, Neeleman and Szendroi (2007), not wishing to ignore the language internal evidence that agreement must play a part in the incidence of null subjects, take the view that languages fall into two categories. These are those where agreement basically determines whether null subjects occur and radical pro drop languages, where the incidence of null pronouns is orthogonal to agreement. Basically Neeleman and Szendroi propose that radical pro drop can occur in a language where pronouns are marked agglutinatively for case or some other morphological element. This proposal is shown to produce correct solutions in 20 languages, but it faces problems.
Firstly, it is not clear to what extent quantitative considerations are involved in whether or not a language is a rampant pro drop one. If, as may be assumed, they are involved, the absence of verb subject agreement in non-rampant pro drop Italian leaves no justification for the fact that, in the following example in that language, the null object can be referential as well as generic, depending on the context. (4)
(3) L'atteggiamento di Giolitti in quell' occasione lascio [??] daverro perplessi.
the attitude of Giolitti on that occasion left really perplexed
'The attitude of Giolitti on that occasion left [??] really perplexed.'
Next, Finnish has agglutinative case endings on pronouns and lacks so-called radical pro drop, thus plainly running counter to the theory of Neeleman and Szendroi. Lao is also a counterexample. Enfield (2007) lists its pronouns as follows: (5)
1st person 2nd person 3rd person Singular Bare kuu3 mung2 man2 Familiar haw2 too3 laaw2 Polite khooj5 caw4 phen1 Formal khaa5-phacaw4 thaan1 thaan1 Plural Bare phuak4-kuu3 suu3 khaw3, man2 Familiar haw2 Polite cu-haw 2 (inc) cu-caw4 khacaw4, phen1 cu-khooj (exc) phuak4-caw4
I am informed by Enfield (personal communication) that the two elements phuak and cu (see above) that precede some singular pronouns to make plurals are independent words meaning group although cu has undergone slight phonological modification (loss of a final glottal stop). Even if one sees the element cu as a separate morpheme in an overall pronoun, say cu-haw2 or cu-caw4, rather than a separate word, it does not mark plural throughout all persons. So Lao pronouns are not generally agglutinatively marked for plural. Neither are they marked at all for case. However, despite the lack of agglutinative marking on Lao pronouns, they can generally remain unexpressed in any position, so the language is radical pro drop and consequently a counterexample to Neeleman and Szendroi's theory.
Aiton, a Tai language spoken in Assam, allows subject and object pronouns to be dropped without agreement (6) and appears to be a radical pro drop language in Neeleman and Szendroi's terms. Its pronouns are as follows:
1st sing 2nd sing 3rd sing 1st plural 2nd plural 3rd plural kau2 maw2 man2 hau2 suu1 khau1
Since Aiton's pronouns are not marked for case and are not agglutinatively marked for plural, it is another counterexample to Neeleman and Szendroi's proposal. Vietnamese also does not appear to conform to Neeleman and Szendroi's ideas either. Cooke (1968) lists its pronouns as follows:
may/may/bay minh no toi ho to ta tao toa moa nguoi chung
He observes that there is no marking for case. Plural is frequently not overtly expressed, but where it is, there are various ways of doing so. With some pronouns, it can be done by preposing chung or cac, meaning group. Thompson (1965) refers to chung as a restrictive complement in phrases with pronouns as head. It can also appear independently as a third person plural pronoun. Some pronouns such as minh and ta can be either singular or plural. The only specifically plural pronoun other than chung, namely ho, has no formal relationship with any singular form. Again, there does not seem to be morphological marking for case or any other characteristic that justifies the presence of radical pro drop in the sense of Neeleman and Szendroi.
Finally, this review turns to Holmberg (2005), who addresses some difficulties caused to the syntactic theory on null pronouns by the fact that, under the version of minimalism outlined in Chomsky (2001), the [??] features in I are uninterpretable and enter the derivation unspecified. This means that an unspecified pronoun cannot be specified by these features. Using evidence from Finnish, Holmberg rejects the view of Manzini and Roussou (1999), Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou (1998) and Manzini and Savoia (2002) that verb subject agreement acts as a pronoun in what have traditionally been viewed as null subject constructions. He concludes on the basis of Finnish that covert subject pronouns appear in Spec IP and that narrow syntax is oblivious to whether they are expressed. This conclusion seems not totally at odds with evidence in Cole (2000) that syntax is not the sole determinant of the incidence of null subjects. First, Example (4) in Spanish, where the verb tenia is ambiguous between 1st and 3rd person singular, is satisfactory even without an overt subject pronoun in the 2nd sentence, because the null subject is recovered by reference to Juan, its antecedent in the initial sentence:
(4) Juan llegaba. [??] Tenia las llaves.
Juan arrive-1/3S-IMP have-1/3S-IMP the keys
'Juan was arriving. He had the keys.'
This recovery of null subject pronouns in Spanish by reference to an antecedent in context is what Nakamura (1987) and Yan Huang (2000) respectively observe to occur in Japanese and Chinese, which lack person and number agreement on the verb.
Further evidence that syntax is not the sole factor involved in null pronominal subjects comes from the observation of Samek-Lodovici (1996) that null thematic subject pronouns are only possible in Italian with a topic antecedent and thus that a null subject in the second sentence of Example (5) is unacceptable because it lacks such a topic antecedent.
(5) Ogni mattine, la mostra e visitata da Gianni.
Every morning, the exhibition is visited by Gianni.
Piu tarde lui/egli/*[??] visita la universita.
More late he visit-3S.PRES the university
'Every morning, the exhibition is visited by Gianni. Later, he visits the university.'
The idea that null subjects occur in individual circumstances in languages is further developed in this article. Indeed, here, a system will be outlined of the recovery of thematic null subjects by reference to contextual antecedents, supported by morphology in certain languages.
Since previous syntactic theories are inadequate, this article reexamines the incidence of thematic null subjects on the basis of new data from a variety of languages. Section 2 outlines the strands of the problem and an initial approach to investigating it. It examines the incidence of overt and covert pronominal subjects in languages where null subjects occur widely, including those with significant verb subject agreement and those completely lacking such agreement (other than for honorifics). It then illustrates the absence of thematic null subjects in languages with no agreement and in certain languages with rich agreement. The first conclusion is that thematic null subjects do not occur in any language regardless of circumstances. There is a step-by-step process in the recovery of thematic null subjects in languages with rich agreement that proceeds first by reference to discrete morphology, then if the morphology is not discrete, by reference to an available antecedent in context and, thirdly, to recovery by virtue of a preferred interpretation. Finally, if none of these methods adequately recovers thematic null subjects, an overt pronoun must be resorted to. Section 3 examines the general principles that any new approach to thematic null subjects must embody and shows that any language has a point of morphological maximality up to which agreement recovers null thematic subject pronouns. The degree of morphological maximality is scalar, varying from Chinese, where it is null, to Tarifit, where it is for person, number and gender. In Section 4, this concept is related to the previously established procedure for the recovery of thematic null subjects to show that, while their recovery by agreement up to the point of morphological maximality is necessary, it is ultimately recovery by reference to an antecedent in context that determines whether they occur. Section 5 concludes that a significant difference between languages with thematic null subjects and languages lacking them is that the former are contextually stronger than the latter. Section 6 addresses some consequences of this theory, including the facts that the licensing of thematic null subjects is redundant and that expletive null subjects need to be dealt with as a separate issue. Section 7 concludes. The article does not address null thematic pronouns in other than subject position, or expletive null subjects, which are regarded as a separate area of research.
2. Basic problem and overall approach and language survey
2.1. Basic problem
The following four axes in relation to thematic null subjects require correlation:
(a) Italian and Spanish have thematic null subjects and rich identifying morphology;
(b) Swedish lacks thematic null subjects and identifying morphology;
(c) Japanese has thematic null subjects, but no identifying morphology;
(d) Icelandic lacks thematic null subjects, but has rich verb morphology.
The argument will set out from the position, observed by Gilligan (1987), that thematic null subjects are the norm in most languages. A good approach to determining why they occur accordingly seems to be to observe the conditions under which overt pronouns are necessary in so-called null subject languages and to compare this with reasons why they are necessary in non-null subject languages.
2.2. Pragmatic use of overt pronouns in so-called null subject languages
Overt subject pronouns occur crosslinguistically for the purpose of focus in languages where null subjects occur. Example (6) in Turkish and Example (7) in Japanese illustrate. (7)
(6) Ben Cuma gunu Istanbul-a git-ti-m
I Friday day Istanbul-DAT go-PAST-1S
'I went to Istanbul on Friday.'
(7) Kare-wa dokusho-ga sukida.
he-TOP reading-NOM like-PRES
'He likes reading.'
These examples only incorporate overt pronouns ben and kare for the purpose of focus and would be quite adequate otherwise with covert pronouns.
A further general use of overt pronouns in languages in which null subjects occur is for change of topic. The following examples illustrate:
(8) John-wa mat-tei-ta. Mary-ga ie-ni tsui-ta. Kare-ga doa-o ake-ta.
John-TOP wait-PROG-PAST Mary NOM house-LOC arrive-PAST he-NOM door-ACC open-PAST
'John was waiting. Mary arrived at the house. He opened the door.'
(9) John-wa mat-tei-ta. Mary-ga ie-ni tsui-ta. [??] doa-o ake-ta.
John-TOP wait-PROG-PAST. Mary-NOM house-LOC arrive-PAST door-ACC open-PAST
'John was waiting. Mary arrived at the house. She opened the door.'
(10) Juan esperaba. Juanitallego a casa. El abrio la puerta.
Juan wait-3S.IMP Juanita arrive-3S.PAST to home. he open-3S.PAST the door
'John was waiting. Juanita arrived home. He opened the door.'
(11) Juan esperaba. Juanitallego a casa. [??] Abrio la puerta.
Juan wait-3S.IMP Juanita arrive-3S.PAST to home. (she) opened the door
Examples (9) and (11) are both satisfactory. In the first, the null subject is recovered by reference to previous context in the form of Mary and, in the second, it is recovered by reference to verb agreement as third person singular. Substitution of kare and el respectively for the null subject in otherwise identical Examples (8) and (10) provides a change of topic from the one context would have implied had there been a null subject as in Examples (9) and (11).
However, while focus and change of topic are important purposes for using overt pronouns in languages where null pronouns occur widely, such use of overt pronouns is only for purely pragmatic purposes. In fact, overt thematic subject pronouns must occur in certain circumstances in many so-called null subject languages, an issue which will form the basis for further discussion.
2.3. Obligatory incidence of overt thematic subjects in null subject languages
Before proceeding to the main discussion, a number of examples representing axes (A) to (D) set out in Section 2.1 will be analyzed in order to illustrate some crosslinguistic patterns of the required use or otherwise of overt subjects. Languages under axis (A) will be discussed at greater length than the other types so as to establish a crosslinguistic generalization that will be an essential factor in subsequent discussion.
2.3.1. Languages with null thematic subjects and rich agreement. Swahili has null thematic subjects and discrete subject agreement on all verbs, leaving no reason for overt subject pronouns to be required in this language. Example (12) illustrates. (8)
(12) [??] A-li-m-busu Halima.
'He kissed Halima.'
Spanish presents a less simple picture, as the following examples show:
(13) [??] Llegue a casa.
Arrive-1S.PAST to home
'I arrived home.'
(14) Juan y yo llegabamos a casa. *[??]/El tenia las llaves.
John and I arrive-1PL.IMP to home. ?/he have-1/3S.IMP the keys.
'John and I were arriving home. I/he had the keys.'
(15) Juan llegaba a casa. [??] Tenia las llaves.
John arrive-3S.IMP to home. (he) have-1/3S.IMP the keys.
'John was arriving home. He had the keys.'
A large majority of its verb forms have unique subject verb agreement, but the 1st and 3rd persons singular of the imperfect indicative tense among others are syncretic. In Example (13), the null subject is recovered by unique 1st person singular agreement. In Example (14), a null subject is not acceptable since tenia is ambiguous between 1st and 3rd person singular, so an overt pronoun (El) is needed. Example (15) is, however, acceptable, even though tenia is again ambiguous, because the subject of tenia is taken to be Juan, the subject of the verb in the 1st sentence in that example. Thus the null thematic pronoun is recovered by reference to an antecedent in context. This is impossible in Example (14) because Juan y yo, the subject of llegabamos in the initial sentence, being 1st person plural, is not an antecedent from which the identity of the subject of the subsequent tenia can be established. European Portuguese, with a similar pattern of syncretic forms to Spanish, exhibits a similar pattern of the incidence of overt and null thematic subjects.
Serbian has syncretic forms in the 2nd and 3rd person singular of the imperfect and aorist tenses. The following examples in the imperfect illustrate the position: (9)
(16) [??] beste u prirodi.
be-2PL-IMP in country.
'You (plural) were in the country.'
(17) Ti I Marko beste u prirodi. *[??]/On uzivase.
You and Marko be-2PL-IMP in country. ?/he enjoy-2/3S.IMP
'You and Marko were in the country. He was enjoying himself.'
(18) Marko bese u prirodi. [??] uzivase.
Marko be-2/3S-IMP in country. enjoy-2/3S.IMP
'Marko was in the country. He was enjoying himself.'
Example (16) is satisfactory with the null subject recovered by unique agreement. However, Example (17) is unacceptable with a null subject because uzivase does not distinguish between 2nd and 3rd person singular, so an overt pronoun (on) has to be inserted. Example (18) is satisfactory without an overt pronoun, even though uzivase is not differentiated for person, because the null subject is recovered by reference to an antecedent in context, namely Marko, the subject of the verb in the first sentence in the example. This is impossible in Example (17), because ti i Marko, the 2nd person plural subject of bevte, gives no indication whether a null subject for uzivase in the subsequent sentence is 2nd or 3rd person. Macedonian and Bulgarian also have syncretic forms in the 2nd and 3rd person singular of the aorist and imperfect tenses and show a similar incidence pattern for overt and null thematic subjects.
In Amharic, the simple imperfect tense is frequently prefixed by a complementizer like be- = if, so that the basic form ttedars (you [masc]/she come[s]) becomes bettedars = (if you [masc] /she come[s]). Any overt pronoun precedes such a complex form. Object pronominals may occur as suffixes or infixes and may change according to the preceding vowel or consonant of the verb to which they are infixed or suffixed. Examples showing situations where overt subject pronouns must occur follow. (10)
(19) Anta-nna Hanna eddelann-occ n-accehu. [??] Basa?at-u be-ttedars-u, [??] t-agan-u-t-all-accehu.
You-and Anne fortunate-PL be-2PL on-hour-DEF if-2PL-arrive.IMP-2PL 2PL.SUB-find-PL-3MS.OB-MVM-2PL.SUB
'You and Anne are fortunate. If you arrive on time, you will catch him.'
(20) Anta-nna Hanna eddelann-occ n-accehu. *[??]/erswa basa?at-u be-ttedars, [??] te-ssallam-all-accehu.
you-and Anne fortunate-PL be-2PL. she on-hour-DEF if-arrive-2M/3F.IMP 2PL.SUB-win-MVM-2PL.SUB
'You and Anne are fortunate. If she arrives on time, you (p1) will win.'
(21) Hanna eddelanna n-acc. [??] basa?at-u be-ttedars, [??] sera e-sat'-at-alla-hu.
Anne fortunate-F be-3F. (she) on-hour-DEF if-arrive.2M/3F.IMP, job 1S-give-her-MVM-1S
'Anne is fortunate. If she arrives on time, I shall give her the job.'
The null subject of the main clause verb in the 2nd sentence of each of Examples (19)-(21) and the null subject of bettedarsu in Example (19) are all recovered by unique subject verb agreement. However, bettedars, the verb in the subordinate clause of the 2nd sentence of Examples (20) to (21) is ambiguous between 2nd person masculine singular and 3rd person feminine singular. Example (20) is unacceptable with a null subject for ambiguous bettedars because the 2nd person plural Anta-nna Hanna in the initial sentence is not an antecedent capable of identifying that subject, so an overt subject (erswa) is necessary. Example (21) is, however, acceptable with a covert subject for bettedars, because it is recovered in the absence of unique subject verb agreement by reference to Hanna, the antecedent in the previous sentence in the example. A similar pattern is available in Arabic where the ambiguity is between the 3rd person feminine singular and 2nd person masculine singular of the present. Thus, the languages so far considered show that, first of all, unique subject verb agreement is relied upon for the recovery of null thematic subjects. Then, in the absence of such unique agreement, they are recovered by reference to an antecedent in context. Finally, if neither unique agreement nor an acceptable antecedent is available, overt pronouns are resorted to. The recovery of null subjects by reference to an antecedent in context in the presence of syncretic verb agreement in rich agreement languages has also been observed to occur in Estonian, Turkish, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Imbabura Quechuaand Catalan. (11) Italian provides a slightly more complicated picture. It has syncretic forms in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular of the present subjunctive, and in the 1st and 2nd person singular of the imperfect subjunctive. Let us observe some examples: (12)
(22) Pavarotti 1 dice che mangia gli spaghetti.
Pavarotti1 say-3S.PRES that eat-3S.PRES the spaghetti
'Pavarotti says that he eats spaghetti.'
(23) Maria ed io1 siamo amici. Bisogna che [??]1 sappia la verita
Maria and I be-1PL.PRES friends, be-necessary.3S.PRES that (I) know1/2/3S.PRES.SUBJ the truth
'Maria and I are friends. It is necessary that I know the truth.'
(24) * Maria1 ed io siamo amici. Bisogna che [??]1 sappia la verita.
(25) Maria1 ed io siamo amici. Bisogna che lei1 sappia la verita.
'Maria and I are friends. It is necessary that she know the truth.'
(26) Maria e un amica. Bisogna che [??] Sappia la verita.
Maria be-3S.PRES a friend. Be-necessary-3S.PRES that (she) know-1/2/3S.PRES.SUBJ the truth.
'Maria is a friend. It is necessary that she know the truth.'
In Italian, a thematic null subject is, prima facie, recoverable when it is the subject of a verb with unique subject agreement like mangia in Example (22). In Example (23), present subjunctive sappia is ambiguous between 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular and there is no antecedent in context by reference to which its subject can be recovered since the subject of the initial sentence is 3rd person plural. The example is acceptable, however, without an overt pronoun, but only with a preferred 1st person interpretation. (13) For a 3rd person interpretation to work, it is necessary to insert an overt 3rd person pronoun as in Example (25). Example (26) is acceptable without an overt pronoun but with a 3rd person singular interpretation of the null subject because this is recovered by reference to Maria, its antecedent in the 1st sentence in that example. A pattern of preferred interpretation is also possible with syncretic forms in the first and second person of the imperfect subjunctive. Consequently, one can see that, in Italian, null thematic subjects may be recovered by reference to unique agreement and, in its absence, by reference to a suitable antecedent in context. In the absence of both, it may have a preferred interpretation. If the preferred interpretation is not the one required, an overt pronoun must be used. This mirrors the position in all other languages examined, except that, in Italian, preferred interpretations come into play after context has failed to differentiate the subject of syncretic verb forms and before resort is finally had to overt pronouns.
2.3.2. Languages with no agreement and null thematic subjects. Languages like Chinese, Japanese and Korean have null subjects and no subject verb agreement (other than for honorifics in the case of Japanese and Korean). Overt pronouns occur in subject position in these languages for the same two pragmatic reasons of focus and change of topic as in null subject languages with rich agreement morphology. The languages also obligatorily use overt subject pronouns in other situations parallel to those for which they are used in rich agreement languages like Spanish and Serbian, as the following Chinese examples show: (14)
(27) Zhang he ta de fu mu canguan le bowugan. Ran hou [??] qu le juyian.
Zhang and he of parents visit PAST museum. after that go PAST theater.
'Zhang and his parents visited the museum. Then they went to the theater.'
(28) Zhang he ta de fu mu canguan le bowugan Ran hou ta qu le juyian.
Zhang and he of parents visit PAST museum. after that he go PAST theatre.
'Zhang and his parents visited the museum. Then he went to the theatre.'
In Example (27), the null subject in the 2nd sentence is recovered by reference to the 3rd person plural antecedent Zhang he ta de fu mu in the 1st sentence. In Example (28), the same antecedent gives no clue as to the identity of a 3rd person singular feminine subject in the second sentence, so overt pronoun ta has to be inserted. Examples are also available to demonstrate a similar situation in Japanese and Korean.
So, in these languages that lack subject verb agreement (other than for honorifics), covert pronouns are permitted where they are recovered by reference to available antecedents, but otherwise overt pronouns are resorted to. Thus, null subjects occur in parallel circumstances to those in which they occur in languages with rich agreement, like Spanish and Serbian, insofar as, here, as there, if agreement does not properly recover them (which, here, being absent, it cannot do), an antecedent in discourse may be resorted to in order to do so.
2.3. Languages that lack null subjects
The situation in so-called non-null subject languages will now be examined, drawing parallels and contrasts with that in so-called null subject languages.
Norwegian and Swedish have no person/number verbal morphology, but, unlike Korean, lack null subjects. The following Swedish example illustrates the position. (15)
(29) Mannen kom hem. Forst oppnade *[??]/han dorren, sedan ...
the man come-PAST home. first open-PAST, he the door then ...
'The man came home. First he opened the door, then ...'
Here, the null thematic subject in the 2nd sentence has an antecedent in context which might recover it in the form of the subject of the preceding sentence, mannen, but the example is still unacceptable without the insertion of overt pronoun han.
Evidence that even rich agreement does not guarantee null thematic subjects further complicates the picture. The following example in Icelandic illustrates. (16)
(30) [??]er komi[??] alltaf of seint. Viti[??] per/*[??] ekki hvenoer vi[??] byrjum a[??] vinna herna.
you come-2S.PRES always too late. know-2S.PRES you not when we come-1PL.PRES to work here?
'You are always late. Don't you know when we come to work here?'
Example (30) is unacceptable with a covert subject in its second sentence, even though this has an antecedent in the preceding sentence and the verb of which it is subject, namely viti[??], has unique subject agreement. Accordingly, insertion of the overt thematic pronoun ber is necessary for acceptability. Thus, thematic null subjects are not possible in this language, although, in various circumstances, the means to recover them appear prima facie to exist. In fact, it is remarkable that Icelandic, with nearly totally discrete verbal morphology, which might have recovered thematic null subjects on a wide scale, lacks them completely. Sigur[??]sson (1993) explains this by pointing out that Icelandic lost thematic null subjects at a certain stage in its history without concomitant loss of agreement and concludes that such agreement was never anaphoric in this language and that the ability of antecedents in context to identify null thematic subjects has been lost.
Thus, there is prima facie a disparate mixture of circumstances to categorize. In Swahili Example (12), Spanish Example (13), Serbian Example (16), Amharic Example (19), and Italian Example (22), thematic null subjects occur with unique verb forms. In Icelandic Example (30), such a thematic null subject cannot occur even with rich agreement. In Spanish Example (15), Italian Example (26), Serbian Example (18), Amharic Example (21), and Chinese Example (27), a null subject occurs with a syncretic verb form but is recovered by reference to an antecedent in previous context. While Swahili does not require context to identify null thematic subjects since all verbal affixes are unique, Chinese still has such null subjects without any person or number morphology to identify them. Also, while Example (27) shows that Chinese has null subjects recovered by reference to an antecedent in context, Example (29) shows that Swedish, also with no verbal agreement, does not.
3. Morphological maximality and determination of the occurrence of null subjects from context
3.1. Recovery by agreement or from context or both
While hitherto agreement has generally been seen as the driving force behind null subjects, it is clearly not so in languages where it is absent in any relevant form. Accordingly, what is required is a concept that allows null subjects to occur in Japanese for precisely the same reasons as in Bengali, Spanish or Swahili and also encompasses the fact that thematic null subjects occur in agreement rich Spanish, but not in agreement rich Icelandic. While a purely agreement-based approach is clearly not satisfactory, there is clear evidence that an approach based entirely on contextual identification is also unsatisfactory, including Examples (31)-(35) from split ergative Pashto. (17)
(31) [??] Mana xwr-em.
'I eat the apple.'
(32) * Ze [??] xwr-em.
I (it) eat-1M.S.PRES
'I eat it (e.g., the apple).'
(33) *[??] Mana we-xwar-a. apple PFT-eat-3F.S
'I ate the apple.'
(34) Ma [??] we-xwar-a.
I (it) PFT-eat-3F.S
'I ate it (e.g., the apple).'
The verb in present tense Examples (31) and (32) agrees in person, number and gender with the subject and only null subjects (not null objects) are possible. On the other hand, the agreement on the verb in past tense Examples (33) and (34) is object related and only null objects (not null subjects) are possible. This shows such a clear connection between the incidence of null subjects and the presence of agreement that agreement cannot be ruled out as an element in the determination of their incidence. Further evidence that agreement is a factor in the incidence of null subjects comes from Breton, Celtic languages generally, Standard Arabic and Moroccan Lebanese and Beni Hassan Arabic, Alvdalsmalet and Angami. Stump (1984) points out that, in Breton, thematic null subjects occur only when verb subject agreement is present and do not occur when it is absent. Furthermore Doron (1988) refers to a complementarity between verbal agreement and overt subjects in Celtic languages generally. Kenstowicz (1989) provides similar evidence in Beni Hassan Arabic, showing that, in expressing the past, the perfect (+ tense + person) form can have a null subject, while the participial (+ tense - person) form cannot. Aoun, Benmamoun and Sportiche (1994) point out that Standard Arabic has both SV and VS orders in simple clauses, In SV order the verb agrees with the subject for person, number and gender whilst in VS order the verb agrees with the subject for person and gender but not for number. On the other hand Moroccan and Lebanese Arabic have verb subject agreement for person, number and gender for both orders. To complement this, Benmamoun (1994) points out that in all these three Arabic languages, null subjects can only occur where there is verb subject agreement for number as well as for person and gender. Further evidence comes from Alvdalsmalet, which Sigur[??]sson (1993) reports as allowing null subjects only in the 1st and 2nd person plural, the only places where rich agreement occurs. Sigur[??]sson points out that the first, second, and third persons singular of the verb in this language are identical and that the third person plural is most frequently the same as them. Finally, evidence comes from Angami, where Giridhar (1980) points out that only stative verbs expressing mental states, processes and attributes take subject agreement and only with such verbs do thematic null subjects occur.
The failure of either a totally agreement based or a totally context based solution to work seems to reflect the division of languages made by Tsao (1977), cited in C-T. J. Huang (1984), into sentence oriented ones, like English, Spanish and Italian, and discourse oriented ones, like Chinese, Japanese and Korean. In fact, Li and Thompson (1976: 50) earlier distinguished the following four possibilities:
Subject prominent English Topic prominent Chinese Subject and topic prominent Japanese Neither subject nor topic prominent Tagalog
They saw discourse oriented languages as topic prominent, having topic NP deletion and the syntactic content of empty categories determined from outside the sentence. Rather than just categorizing languages as discourse or sentence oriented, it seems that, in order to achieve a unifying theory, these kinds of differences need to be seen as points on a spectrum rather than oppositions. In fact, Li and Thomson's view that Japanese is both subject and topic prominent suggests some blurring of the dividing line between [+discourse orientated/-sentence orientated] languages and [+sentence/-discourse oriented] ones. This gives further credence to the idea that what is needed is a bridging operation between languages like Spanish and Italian, which are construed as being sentence orientated, apparently requiring predominantly unique subject verb agreement to determine whether thematic null subjects occur from within the sentence, and Chinese, Korean and Japanese, each of which, to its own degree, is discourse orientated and allows the content of empty categories to be determined to a considerable degree from outside the sentence. Such a bridging operation must involve a concept that incorporates both agreement and context in a solution that can apply as well to rich agreement Spanish as to context driven Chinese. This will be seen as a two part problem. Initially, the agreement facet will be addressed, but this itself will throw light on the context aspect, which will be subsequently discussed.
3.2. Situation in Bengali
A key to the involvement of subject verb agreement in the crosslinguistic incidence of null thematic subjects seems to lie in Bengali, a null subject language with subject verb agreement for person but not for number. (18) However, it has personal pronouns, singular and plural, for all persons and modes of address. Like other null subject languages, it uses such pronouns for focus, as in the following example: (19)
(35) Ami bajare jacchi
'I(focused) am going to-town.'
Overt pronouns are also used in Bengali for change of topic as Examples (36) and (37) illustrate.
(36) Budhbar-e amra Calcutta-e gelum. Brihoshpothibar-e [??] gari kinlum. Shonibar-e [??] bari firlum.
on-Wednesday we to-Calcutta go-1-PAST. on-Thursday car buy-1PAST, on-Saturday home come-1PAST
'On Wednesday we went to Calcutta. On Thursday we bought a car. On Saturday we came home.'
(37) Budhbar-e amra Calcutta-e gelum. Brihoshpothibar-e [??] gari kinlum. Shonibar-e ami bari firlum.
on-Wednesday we to-Calcutta go-1PAST. on-Thursday car. buy-1PAST, on-Saturday I home come-1PAST
'On Wednesday, we to Calcutta went. On Thursday, we bought a car. On Saturday, I came home.'
In Example (36), amra, the 1st person plural subject of the 1st sentence is an antecedent providing identification for the null subject of the 2nd and 3rd sentences in the example. In Example (37), to change the reference of the subject of the 3rd sentence to 1st person singular, insertion of overt subject pronoun ami is necessary. However, as in other null subject languages, such pragmatic use of overt pronouns gives no definition of the incidence of thematic null subjects. Examples (38)-(40) provide a better indication of this.
(38) Iqbal Calcutta-e budhbar-e goelo. Brihoshpothibar-e [??] gari kinlo.
Iqbal to-Calcutta on-Wednesday go-3PAST. on-Thursday car buy-3PAST
'Iqbal went to Calcutta on Wednesday. On Thursday he bought a car.'
(39) Shonibar-e Iqbal Calcutta-e jabe. [??] gari kinbe [??] Restaurant-e jabe.
on-Saturday Iqbal to-Calcutta go-2/3FUT. car buy-2/3FUT, to-restaurant go-2/3FUT.
'On Saturday, Iqbal will go to Calcutta. He will buy a car. He will go to a restaurant.'
(40) Shonibar-e Iqbal Calcutta-e jabe. [??] Gari kinbe. Tumi restaurant-e jabe.
on-Saturday Iqbal to-Calcutta go-2/3FUT. car buy-2/3FUT you-S to-restaurant go-2/3FUT
'On Saturday, Iqbal will go to Calcutta. He will buy a car. You will go to a restaurant.'
In Example (38), the person of the null subject is recovered by reference to unique subject verb agreement, but recovery of number comes from the antecedent in the form of Iqbal, the subject of the initial sentence. In Example (39), the verbs kinbe in the 2nd sentence and jabe in the 3rd are ambiguous between 2nd and 3rd person, but a null subject is still possible because, with an intended 3rd person interpretation, it can be recovered by reference to the antecedent, Iqbal, the 3rd person singular subject of the 1st sentence in the example. In Example (40), an overt pronoun must occur as the subject of the 3rd sentence if a second person interpretation is intended, since the verb jabe is indistinct between 2nd and 3rd person and does not give such an interpretation. So, in Bengali, where only person is the norm for the morphological recovery of the subject, a null subject may occur, just as in Serbian, Amharic, or Spanish, where it is recovered by reference to that morphology and, in the absence of that, by reference to a suitable antecedent in context. However, where it remains unrecovered, an overt pronoun is required.
3.3. Morphological maximality, antecedents and null subjects
Thus, Bengali, with verbal morphology for person only, provides a bridge between Chinese, where thematic null subjects are always recovered by reference to the features of an antecedent and morphology plays no part, and Italian, where they are morphologically recovered for person and number. In fact, if we examine the morphological recovery of thematic null subjects in ali languages where they occur, it can be seen to forma scale, at one extreme of which is Chinese, where recovery by reference to verbal morphology is nil and the null subject is recovered by reference to context alone. Then, in Bengali, a null subject is morphologically recovered for person by verb subject agreement, except when such agreement is syncretic, when such a subject may be recovered by reference to context. Next come Spanish and Italian, where a null subject is recovered for person and number by subject verb agreement, except when such agreement is syncretic, when such a subject may be recovered by reference to context. Finally, in Tarifit, the norm is for the null subject to be recovered for person, number and gender by subject verb agreement, as in Example (41). (20)
(41) Kurizzn1 y-nna qa [??] ur y-ssin ad y-ghinni.
everyone1 3M.S-say that not 3M.S-know-PAST to M.S-sing
'Everyone 1 said that he 1 does not know how to sing.'
This appears to give a unified account for null subject languages, in so far as we can see a scalar progression in the degree to which null thematic subjects are recovered by reference to morphology. At one end of this scale is Chinese, where context is all-prevailing in the recovery of null thematic subjects and subject verb agreement, being absent, plays no part, and at the other end is Tarifit, where, prima facie, recovery of such null subjects relies on agreement for person, number and gender. However, is this the end of the scale, or should one not see the features of antecedents in context themselves as broken down into further unspecified factors X, Y, Z by reference to which null subjects can be recovered, just as context:
(i) recovers number when a null subject is used with unique forms in such a language as Bengali, which only has morphology for person? or
(ii) recovers gender in such languages as Italian or Spanish which only have morphology for person and number?
Effectively what one can say is that every language has its own morphological maximality in terms of subject agreement. A null thematic subject can occur provided that, in the first instance, subject verb agreement is unique up to the point of morphological maximality. In Chinese, the point of morphological maximality is null. Nil morphological features are required to satisfy this null morphological maximality and so a null thematic subject may occur in the first place provided those features not represented by morphological maximality are available by reference to an antecedent in context. So, in Chinese, a null thematic subject may occur if it is satisfactorily recovered by reference to an antecedent in context. In Bengali, morphological maximality is represented by person, so a null thematic subject may occur if unique agreement recovers person, provided that features not represented by morphological maximality are recovered by reference to an antecedent in context. In Spanish and Italian, morphological maximality is represented by person and number. A null thematic subject may occur in the first place if unique subject verb agreement recovers its person and number, and features not represented by morphological maximality are recoverable from an antecedent in context. In Tarifit, morphological maximality is represented by person, number and gender, and any features beyond that are recovered by reference to an antecedent in context.
In Arabic, morphological maximality is represented by person, number and gender. This creates a slight problem since, in this language, gender is only morphologically recovered in the second and third person singular and plural. The concept therefore needs some modification to allow null subjects to occur in the 1st person singular and plural without agreement for that person being specified for gender. The only practical way to achieve this without other undesirable results is to specify the effective facts. Morphological maximality must be across a whole language for person and number, but can be across only certain persons in a language for other features. Thus, in Arabic and other languages with similar verb subject agreement characteristics, morphological maximality is for person and number in the 1st person, but for person, number and gender in the second and third persons.
Having dealt with this difficulty, we can now say that a null thematic subject may occur if unique verb subject agreement recovers features up to the point of morphological maximality and ali other features are recoverable by reference to an antecedent in context.
3.4. Recovery from context
In the previous section, a framework was established in which agreement could be incorporated into an overall definition of the incidence of null subjects even in a language like Chinese, which lacks agreement morphology. Incidental to this, it was established that context always plays some part in the recovery of null subjects. Let us now pinpoint exactly what part that is.
So far we have said that
(A) in an example like the following in Spanish with syncretic agreement:
Juan llegaba a casa. [??] Tenia las llaves
John arrive-1/3S.IMPERF to home. (he) have-1/3S.IMPERF the keys
'John was arriving home. He had the keys.'
null subjects are recovered by reference to an antecedent in context;
(B) in Chinese, null subjects are totally identified by reference to antecedents in context; and
(C) in Bengali, Spanish and Tarifit, where there is unique verbal agreement, context recovers ali features of thematic null subjects beyond the point of morphological maximality
While it is plain in ali these circumstances that context is a determinant of the incidence of thematic null subjects, what is needed is a single statement of its contribution in this respect that will cover ali its occurrences in ali languages. It is clear that full recovery of thematic null subjects from context is needed in Chinese, and it appears necessary in the circumstances of A above, where agreement does not recover the null thematic subject up to the point of morphological maximality. It seems self-evident that it fully recovers them in the circumstances of C above too, but can we say that it is a requirement or is it just the case that contextual recovery is only necessary beyond the point of morphological maximality? The following Spanish example gives the answer:
(42) *[Juan y Juanita]1 llegaron a casa. [??]1 Abrio la puerta.
Juan and Juanita arrived to house. open-3S.PAST the door
'Juan and Juanita arrived home. (He/she) opened the door.'
Assuming no deictic context, this is unacceptable because the null subject in the 2nd sentence is recovered as 3rd singular by verb subject agreement, but is co-indexed with a 3rd person plural antecedent. If contextual recovery were merely required beyond the point of morphological maximality, then such co-indexation would be acceptable. This is because the failure of the singular agreement feature to accord with the plural antecedent would be of no consequence because number is a feature within morphological maximality and thus would not need to be contextually recovered. To ensure that contextual recovery does not contradict morphological recovery, we must say that, for there to be a 3rd person singular null subject, it must be fully contextually recovered. Thus, as well as being recovered up to morphological maximality (with a tolerance for syncretisms) by agreement, a null thematic subject must be fully recovered by reference to an antecedent in context. A formulation of this approach follows:
A null thematic subject may occur when it is both
(a) recovered by reference to an antecedent in context; and
(b) recovered by agreement up to the point of morphological uniformity (with a tolerance for sycretisms)
4. An essential difference between null subject and non-null subject languages
A clear difference is now apparent between languages where thematic null subjects occur and those where they do not. In languages where thematic null subjects occur:
(i) they are recovered up to the point of morphological maximality or as far as possible towards it, given syncretisms, by subject verb agreement.
(ii) recovery as at (i) is supplemented by reference to an antecedent in context.
(iii) where a combination of (i) and (ii) fails to recover a thematic null subject, it may have a preferred interpretation (as in Italian).
(iv) where neither (i) and (ii) nor (iii) provide an identity for a thematic null subject, an overt pronoun must be substituted.
In prototypically non-null subject languages like Swedish with no verb agreement:
(i) recovery by subject verb agreement is up to the point of morphological maximality which is nil, as in Chinese, and this is not supplemented by reference to an antecedent in context; so
(ii) overt pronouns must be used.
There is an essential difference between the two patterns. In languages where null thematic subjects occur, such as Spanish, Italian, Bengali and Chinese, their recovery by subject verb agreement up to the point of morphological maximality, (or as far as possible towards it, given sycretisms) can be supplemented by recovery by reference to an antecedent in context before overt pronouns are resorted to. However, in prototypical non-null subject Norwegian and Swedish, agreement can recover a null subject up to the point of morphological maximality, which is null. However, such a subject is not recovered by reference to an antecedent in context, so resort is had immediately to overt pronouns, which must always be used.
The most telling picture is given by comparing how this scheme of things works in Chinese and Swedish. In both, recovery by agreement, (which is lacking) is up to morphological maximality, which is null. In Chinese, a null thematic subject is recovered by reference to an antecedent in context, but overt pronouns are immediately resorted to in Swedish.
One could conclude on this basis that languages in which null thematic subjects may occur have a certain contextual strength and that those where they do not occur have a certain contextual weakness. Whether a language is contextually weak or strong might then be construed as reflected by whether a thematic null subject can be recovered by reference to an antecedent in context. This approach then lends itself to the solution of another problem. The reason why null subjects are possible in Spanish but not in Icelandic, both of which have rich subject verb agreement, could be put down to the fact that, in the former, they can be recovered by reference to an antecedent in context, whereas, in the latter, this is not the case. Supporting evidence for this conclusion comes from the fact that, in Icelandic, as already pointed out, Sigur[??]sson (1993) concludes that thematic null subjects were lost without any appreciable loss in agreement morphology and that, in Old Icelandic, thematic null subjects were recovered by reference to free co-indexing with elements in context. This situation could be interpreted in terms of Icelandic changing from being a contextually strong to a contextually weak language as it lost thematic null subjects. Similarly, French and English, languages that lack thematic null subjects even with the limited verb forms with identifying morphology, could be construed as being contextually weak.
In Pashto, looking back to Examples (31) to (34), null subjects can occur in the present tense, where there is verb subject agreement for gender, person and number but not in the past where there is no such subject verb agreement. This language can be construed as contextually strong since null thematic subjects do occur in it. The difference in the incidence of null subjects between its tenses can be related to the fact that morphological maximality for subject agreement is for gender, person and number, so that thematic null subjects can occur where they are recovered by this level of subject verb agreement, namely in the present tense. On the other hand, they cannot be so recovered in the past tense, where this level of subject verb agreement is absent, since the agreement there is object related. This illustrates how the concept developed in this article operates in a partial null subject language where the presence or absence of null thematic pronouns varies with the presence or absence of subject verb agreement. (21)
5. Consequences of the above theory
The first condition for a null thematic subject to occur is for it to be recovered by reference to an antecedent in context in a contextually strong language. If this does not occur, then an overt pronoun is required. From this we may conclude that the syntactic licensing of thematic null subjects is completely redundant. There are in fact already good arguments against there being a licensing requirement for null subjects. First there is no reason why a purely phonological opposition (pronounced/ unpronounced) should be the subject of syntactic licensing. This objection to the syntactic licensing of null subjects is in fact highlighted by Speas (1994) who points out in relation to head licensing that the licensing condition necessitates that the grammar allow some heads to be designated as licensors of a category with particular phonological properties (namely the property of being unpronounced). There are no designations equivalent to head licensing in other components of syntax involving other phonological properties. Furthermore, syntactic licensing would necessitate that a particular lexical entry, a null thematic subject, is subject to a special syntactic requirement by virtue of its phonological status, and there do not seem to be other cases of this.
This does at first seem to have one rather unfortunate consequence, since with thematic null subjects not requiring licensing, expletive null subjects seem to have been left isolated. However, there appear to be some arguments for treating them as a separate empty category. First, whilst, in languages in which they occur, covert thematic subjects exist alongside overt thematic subjects, there is generally no overt version of covert non-thematic subjects in such languages. (22) Also, if null non-thematic subjects were the same entities as null thematic subjects but without thematic content, then it would be logical to assume that the same relationship existed for overt non-thematic and thematic subjects. This works very well for non-thematic it, which with thematic content becomes thematic it but there is no thematic pronominal subject equivalent of expletive subject pronoun there. Furthermore, trying to assimilate non-thematic null subjects and thematic null subjects into the same entity in such a language as Spanish or Italian is a little peculiar because the never expressed non-thematic pronoun suddenly becomes expressible when it gains thematic content.
The aim of this article has been to establish a theory of why thematic pronouns are covert or covert, focusing on subjects. Analysis of an array of data established that, in languages with wide scale agreement and null subjects, prima facie, recovery of such null subjects is made first by reference to discrete agreement and if that fails by reference to an antecedent in context. Subsequently, preferred interpretations are resorted to and then overt pronouns. Every language is at a certain point on a scale of morphological maximality up to which agreement must recover null subjects. It is further concluded that, in languages where null subjects occur, resort is had to an antecedent in context to complete their recovery, whereas in languages where they do not occur, this is not possible. This is put down to the fact that some languages are contextually strong and others are contextually weak. This proposal has the consequence that the syntactic licensing of thematic null subjects is redundant. Consequently, it is deemed necessary to treat non-thematic null pronouns as a separate empty category that may require syntactic licensing.
Further research is also well advanced in relation to the application of an adapted form of Ariel's (1988, 1990, 1994, 2001) theory of accessibility to the concepts of contextual strength and weakness. (23)
University of Manchester
Received 4 November 2003
Revised version received
7 August 2006
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(1.) Thanks are due to my PhD supervisor, Professor Nigel Vincent for his advice and encouragement long after I had ceased to be his responsibility. They are also due to two anonymous reviewers. I should also like to express my gratitude to ali those who provided me with examples, including Ketmanee Ausmangokol, whose Thai examples I have been unable to use. Errors of any kind in this article are my responsibility. Correspondence address: 14 Heathview Crescent, Salford, Manchester M7 3GH, United Kingdom. E-mail: email@example.com.
(2.) C.-T. James Huang's operator variable analysis was a bold and innovative solution to the problem and the vast majority of the theory upon which the objections were based appear not to have been expounded in the literature until after the publication of his article.
(3.) Example supplied by Feng Shou Gu, University of Manchester.
(4.) Example taken from Chierchia (1989).
(5.) The table has been altered from that on p. 77 of Enfield (2007), but only in order better to reflect his subsequent observation that man2, haw2 and phen1 are used as both plural and singular. The numbers refer to tones. Tone 1 has a level contour around the middle pitch range, tone 2 a high-rising contour, beginning around the mid-range and going to high, tone 3 a low rising contour, beginning around the bottom of the pitch range and rising sharply, (sometimes pronounced as a low level tone without a rising offset), tone 4 a high-falling contour, beginning at the top of the pitch range and falling sharply, tone 5 a mid-falling contour, starting at the middle of the pitch range and falling to low.
(6.) Information gathered from Morey (2005) and examination of glossed texts Stephen Morey kindly sent with his personal communication.
(7.) Turkish example provided by Dr. Evren Erem. Japanese examples supplied by Dr. Chaoki Taoka.
(8.) Example from Vitale (1981: 117).
(9.) Examples and information in Serbian, Macedonian and Bulgarian obtained respectively from Vladislava Ribnikar of Nottingham University, Dr. Vesna Stojanovik of Reading University and Dr. Ilya Nedin of the School of Slavonic and East European studies at University College London.
(10.) Amharic examples supplied by Bodja Gelatcha and Semaw Mekonen, MSc's at Manchester University. Their transcription has been confirmed by Dr. David Appleyard of SOAS, whose patience in relation to this complex language I am extremely grateful for. In the examples, I have followed Dr. Aphpleyard in denoting the component -all- used in forming the compound imperfect tense as MVM ("main verb marker"). Amharic has a simple imperfect tense, marked IMP in the examples, and a compound imperfect tense. Both have separate functions, for which the reader is referred to Appleyard (1995).
(11.) See Cole (1982).
(12.) Example (22) taken from Huang (2000). Examples (23)-(26) supplied by Dr. Cecilia Goria of Nottingham University.
(13.) Regarding Examples (23) and (24), seven informants confirmed the first person preferred interpretation of the subject of sappia and three said that even if a first person interpretation were intended, this would not be clear without an overt pronoun. This reflects the view expressed in Cardinaletti (1997) that not all Italians accept such preferred interpretations.
(14.) Examples supplied Hongzhu Li and Zhao Wan, students at Manchester University and Manchester Business School respectively, and confirmed by Wen Jiang, student at Manchester University.
(15.) Swedish example supplied by Professor Kersti Borjars of Manchester University.
(16.) Icelandic example checked with Dr. Katrin Lund of University of Iceland.
(17.) Examples from C-T. J. Huang (1984).
(18.) Bengali also has considerable morphology in tbe second and third person for honorific level.
(19.) Examples (35), (36), and (40) supplied by Dr. Gupta, ex-member of German Department at Manchester University. Ali other Bengali examples provided by "Ike" Chowdury.
(20.) Information from Y. Huang (2000: 89)
(21.) According to Anders Holmberg, Finnish and Marathi appear to be partial pro drop languages that, in certain circumstances, require pronominal subjects to be overt, even with rich subject agreement. This requires further research.
(22.) In Finnish, according to Holmberg (2005), depending on the circumstances, an expletive subject can be overt. Also, Adam Ledgeway (p.c.) informs me that overt expletive subjects can occur in most Campanian dialects and some dialects of Calabria and Sicily.
(23.) This research will need to address the fact recently discovered that Hindi seems to allow unexpressed pronouns in a manner that is orthogonal to agreement. Informants are being consulted.
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|Author:||Cole, Melvyn Douglas|
|Publication:||Linguistics: an interdisciplinary journal of the language sciences|
|Date:||May 1, 2009|
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