Control and Null Subjects Are Governed by Morphosyntax in Finnish

Pauli Brattico


This article provides a typology of null subjects (e.g. pro, PRO) and their control in Finnish. It argues that there are two syntactic environments licensing controlled null pronouns in this language. One environment, licensing an element closely resembling or identical with pro, is characterized by morphosyntactic activity, while the other exhibits the exact opposite profile and licenses PRO. Control properties of the two types of null subjects differ from each other and are shown to depend on three notions: c-command, locality and discourse. An analysis is provided that explains why null subjects are generated in the presence (e.g. pro) and absence (e.g. PRO) of morphosyntax, and why these elements exhibit the control properties that they do. According to this analysis, both pro and PRO are real pronominal elements, bare phi-sets, which contain uninterpretable features that trigger control relations at LF. Morphosyntax (Agree) is seen as a mechanism that renders arguments visible at PF and LF, while discourse-interpreted elements are exempted from this restriction.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.