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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Gabriela SOARE

The Syntax of Some Imposter DPs

Abstract/Résumé: English has a class of expressions that while denoting the speaker or the addressee has the syntactic form of a standard 3rd person DP but presents alternations in pronominal phi-features which do not correlate with any truth conditional differences. In (1), the reflexive pronoun can either be 3PL, agreeing in phi-features with its antecedent the present authors or, or 1PL. Labelling them imposters, Collins and Postal (2012) argue for a syntactic analysis and show they involve a covert 1st or 2nd person pronominal core. The pronominal agrees in phi-features with its immediate antecedent, or with some distinct DP syntactically related to its immediate antecedent (3) (see also Bianchi 2003, 2005, Sigurdsson 2004). The paper investigates: (i) Plural and coordinate imposters in French and Romanian and their interaction with the rich verbal morphology; (ii) The status of the subject of predicate nominals in structures like (2). We propose some refinements to explain French and Romanian imposters. Plural imposters in the two languages allow only 3rd person. The ultimate antecedent of the imposter as a secondary source, a potential origin for phi-features for the verb (and the pronominal) is inactive. However, if the imposter is modified by the indexical here present, an ameliorating effect obtains. We show the imposter DP has a predicate subpart which contains the covert pronoun we, in addition to the verbal adjective (this covert pronoun is anteceded by AUTHOR in the left periphery). Coordinate structures with an imposter DP in the two languages pattern with English, though with some degree of marginality, which indicates the availability of the ultimate antecedent, AUTHOR. However, 1PL verbal agreement is more readily available on condition the imposter gets topicalised across an indexical adverb. We suggest that the shell part moves to the left periphery and that the core part (we) is represented by pro in Romanian which has [1PL] phi-features, thus resulting in 1PL verb agreement. In French, a modifier (usually an indexical) can license the deletion of the 1st pronoun in certain special speech related contexts, among which the imposter cases. This explains 1PL verb agreement. Both languages show 3rd and 1st person verb agreement in (2a). Following C&P, we suggest the relative pronoun can agree either with the predicate nominal or with the subject of the predicate nominal. (1) In this reply, the present authors (= the writers of the reply) attempt to defend ourselves/themselves against … (2) a. I am a teacher who takes care of myself/himself. b. Every one of us thinks we/he are/is a genius. (3) a. AUTHOR the present authors attempt to defend ourselves/themselves. b. AUTHOR this reporter and his son are proud of ourselves/themselves.