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Movement and Silence$
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Richard S. Kayne

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179163.001.0001

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New Thoughts on Stylistic Inversion

New Thoughts on Stylistic Inversion

(p.3) 1 New Thoughts on Stylistic Inversion
Movement and Silence

Jean-Yves Pollock

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies French sentences in which the subject follows the verb. In this analysis, multiple leftward movements interact in such a way as to provide accounts for various phenomena that were not understood in an earlier framework countenancing rightward movement. The post-verbal position of the subject determiner phrase (DP) in French sentences is attributed to the syntactic computation(s) known as stylistic inversion (SI). Unlike many other Romance languages, French only allows a limited set of sentence types to take post-verbal subjects. The proposed analysis covers cases of SI involving Wh-movement, as well as cases involving subjunctives (and some marginal cases with indicatives). The notion of “trigger for SI” that seemed necessary in earlier work turns out to be superfluous. In addition, French turns out to have no null expletives in SI sentences, contrary to appearances, but it does have quirky subjects that in part resembled those of Icelandic.

Keywords:   French langauge, sentences, stylistic conversion, movements, grammar, direct objects, inflectional phrases, indicatives, subjunctives

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