The VOS Puzzle
Keywords:Spanish syntax, VOS word order, top-down derivation, pro
The subject (S) in Spanish sentences may appear post–verbally and even sentence–finally following an object (O). Further, in post–verbal SO/OS pairs, the first element asymmetrically c–commands the second element. Previous analyses of the VOS phenomenon encounter difficulties in accounting for this asymmetric c–command relation and/or for Case and subject–verb agreement involving the VOS subject. We argue here that these Spanish SO/OS pairs operate in parallel to English double–objects (Larson 1988). Based on the work of Phillips (1997) and others, we propose a top–down approach to sentence derivation which resolves the problems with VOS sentences encountered by other analyses and which obviates the need for devices such as pro to account for ‘pro–drop’ sentences.
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