Prepositional complementizers as attractors

Richard S. Kayne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The prepositional complementizers in French, Italian and English enter the derivation above the VP, and not as sister to the IP they are associated with. The relation between complementizer and IP is expressed by having the IP move from within VP to the specifier position of the complementizer. That movement can be thought of in terms of Chomsky's (1995: chap. 4) notion of attraction. Subsequent raising of the complementizer (to a head W), followed by phrasal movement to Spec,W, produces the observed word order in these languages. This kind of derivation (which should be generalized to many prepositions) is similar to those proposed in Kayne (1993; 1998) for various constructions involving possession, negation, ‘only /‘even /'too,focus, scope and antecedent-contained deletion. Many syntactic relations that could at first glance be expressed in terms of merger (sisterhood) turn out to be better expressed in terms of attraction.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)39-74
    Number of pages36
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1999

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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