Clausal complementation and the status of French à/de ce que

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

In this paper, we examine in some detail the syntactic distribution and semantic properties of French tensed clausal complements introduced by à/de ce que. We argue that the clausal determiner analysis put forth in Zaring (1992) is inadequate for explaining their distribution and that an extension of Kayne's (1999) treatment of à and de + infinitive to à/de ce que is also unlikely to yield the right results since a number of contexts reveal that the distribution of so-called prepositional complementizers in infinitives and that of à/de ce que only partially overlap. We propose instead that à/de ce que are noncompositional elements of the C system that are restricted to tensed clausal complements to verbs, nouns and adjectives that form coherent semantic classes. This type of selection and distribution is shown to be strongly reminiscent of that of indirect interrogative si. Finally we argue, based on topic placement, that given Rizzi's (1997, 2001) multi-layered approach to the C system, de ce que, just like que, occupies the head of ForceP while à ce que appears in a lower position: head of IntP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2193-2210
Number of pages18
JournalLingua
Volume120
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

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semantics
Complementation
Infinitive
Determiners
Interrogatives
Semantic Classes
Overlap
Placement
Syntax
Semantic Properties
Nouns
Adjective
Complementizer
Verbs

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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abstract = "In this paper, we examine in some detail the syntactic distribution and semantic properties of French tensed clausal complements introduced by {\`a}/de ce que. We argue that the clausal determiner analysis put forth in Zaring (1992) is inadequate for explaining their distribution and that an extension of Kayne's (1999) treatment of {\`a} and de + infinitive to {\`a}/de ce que is also unlikely to yield the right results since a number of contexts reveal that the distribution of so-called prepositional complementizers in infinitives and that of {\`a}/de ce que only partially overlap. We propose instead that {\`a}/de ce que are noncompositional elements of the C system that are restricted to tensed clausal complements to verbs, nouns and adjectives that form coherent semantic classes. This type of selection and distribution is shown to be strongly reminiscent of that of indirect interrogative si. Finally we argue, based on topic placement, that given Rizzi's (1997, 2001) multi-layered approach to the C system, de ce que, just like que, occupies the head of ForceP while {\`a} ce que appears in a lower position: head of IntP.",
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Clausal complementation and the status of French à/de ce que. / Authier, J.-marc; Reed, Lisa A.

In: Lingua, Vol. 120, No. 9, 01.09.2010, p. 2193-2210.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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