Borsley, Rivero & Stephens (1996)

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Borsley, R.D. M.L. Rivero & J. Stephens. 1996. 'Long Head Movement in Breton', The Syntax of the Celtic Languages: a comparative perspective, Robert D. Borsley et Ian Roberts (éds.), 53-74. Cambridge University Press.


 "A notable feature of Breton is sentences in which a non-finite verb of some kind appears in initial position followed by an auxiliary and a subject (or if there is no overt subject whatever complement(s) the non-finite verb requires). The following is a typical example:
 (1) Lennet en deus  Yann al levr.
     read   3SGM has Yann the book
     'Yann has read the book.'
 Sentences of this kind are not found in the other Celtic languages or in the most intensively studied non-Celtic languages. Not surprisingly, therefore, they have figured quite prominently in discussions of Breton syntax. In this chapter, we will argue that these sentences are the product of long head movement, a process which moves a verb directly to C over certain intervening heads. This process has previously been identified in Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, Serbo-Croatian, Rumanian, Old Spanish and European Portuguese before the twentiest century (see Rivero 1991, 1994, Lema and Rivero 1989a, 1989b, 1991). We will show that Breton sentences like (1) have all the properties of similar sentences in these languages. It seems, then, that Breton is another language with long head movement. This is of interest for two fairly obvious reasons. Firstly, it means that long head movement is not limited to the Slavic and Romance families. Secondly, since Breton is a VSO language, it means that long head movement can occur in a VSO language.
 Breton long head movement is also of interest because it appears to be motivated by a rather different constraint from that which motivates it in the other languages in which it occurs. We will argue, however, following Rivero (1993), that the same constraint is operative in Breton and the other languages. We will also argue, following Rivero (1991) and especially Roberts (1994a) that the Breton data require a distinction between two types of heads, and a version of the ECP sensitive to this distinction." 

références citées

  • Rivero, M.L., 1993. 'Long Head Movement vs V2 and Null Subjects in Old Romance', Lingua, 89:217-245.
  • Rivero, M.L., 1991. 'Long Head Movement and Negation: Serbo-Croatian versus Slovak and Czech', The Linguistic Review 8: 319-351.
  • Rivero, M.L. & José Lema, 1991. 'Types of Verbal Movement in Old Spanish: Modals, Futures and Perfects', Probus 3(3), 1991: 237-278.