Ortiz de Urbina (1993)

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  • Ortiz de Urbina, Jon. 1993. 'Checking domains in Basque and Breton', Anuario del Seminario de Filología Vasca "Julio de Urquijo" XXVII-3, 751-775.


 Abstract 
 "This article presents an analysis of some restrictions on verb initial word orders in Basque. Following Rivero's (1993a) analysis of similar facts in Breton, I will claim that the morphological feature for tense in these languages must occur in a configuration with a licenser in the appropriate structural position. Languages may differ as to licensing domain requirements, and I will claim that while Breton uses an internal domain, tense licensing in Basque takes place in the canonical head checking-domain. Where the relevant licenser is not available in that domain, last resort operations will apply to provide the correct licensing configuration. In particular, long-head movement in Breton creates the appropriate internal domain for tense, while ba-insertion produces the correct checking configuration for Basque.
 The article is organized as follows. The introductory section provides the relevant background information on word-order and verb first and verb second patterns in Basque. Section 1 deals with some restrictions on verb first structures in Basque, while Section 2 introduces similar facts from Breton, pointing out both the similarities and differences between the two languages. After showing in Section 3 that the verb initial patterns under consideration in Basque contain a tensed verbal form in C, Section 4 draws the analysis of the data. I claim that the morphological feature for tense must be licensed in the overt syntax in Basque, much like other morphological features. Such licensing is carried out in the canonical configurations for head checking as defined in Chomsky (1992). The article closes with a look at 'tenseless' finite constructions like imperatives, where, as expected, the restrictions on initial verbs do not hold."


  • Chomsky, N., 1992. A minimalist program for linguistic theory, Cambridge: MITWPL.
  • Rivero, M. L., 1993a. 'Finiteness and second position in Long Head Movement languages: Breton and Slavic', paper read at the Lund April 1993 meeting ofEurotyp Project Group 3.