Weisser (2019)

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  • Weisser, Philipp. 2019. 'A Remove-based theory of the Complementarity Effect in Breton', Andrew Murphy (éd.), Structure Removal, Linguistische Arbeits Berichte 94, Universität Leipzig, 1–28.

 "In this paper, I discuss the so-called Complementarity Effect of f-agreement in the Celtic language Breton: Verbal f-agreement is only ever overt if the agreement controller (i.e. the subject) is covert. I argue that this peculiar phenomenon provides an argument that the covertness of the subject should be analysed as being due to syntactic removal rather than due to the presence of a phonologically empty element in the subject position. Theories of pro-drop in terms of an empty pro have no handle to derive why verbs only agree with elements that are phonologically null. In an alternative theory of pro-drop which makes use of the syntactic operation REMOVE, it can be modelled that removal of a pronoun from the subject position leaves the f-features of the pronoun unattached and in accordance with the reintegration property of the operation, these features will be reattached on a functional head that eventually will be realized as a part of the verb. Under these assumptions, the presence of f-features on the verb is an immediate consequence of removal of the pronoun and therefore straightforwardly models the complementary distribution of verbal agreement and its controller."