Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Quotative Inversion (Collins and Branigan 1997)

Sentences in which a direct speech complement to a verb of saying is preposed or postposed can trigger  inversion of the  subject and the finite verb. This structure is analyzed in a minimalist framework, leading to a revision of the minimalist theory of locality constraints on movement.

Evidence is presented to show that the subject remains in Spec-V and the verb raises to Agr0 in quotative inversion sentences. The direct speech constituent at the periphery of the clause is shown to  control an empty operator which triggers the inversion in a manner  parallel to French stylistic inversion. The inversion is derived from the checking theory by supposing a particular complementiser type which then selects weak N-features on its complement. A transitivity constraint on quotative inversion is discussed and the Minimal Link Condition is reformulated so that inver­sion is blocked in VPs in which there is both a quote and a DP complement. Finally, the position of the verb in quotative inversion is derived from the  Revised Minimal Link Condition.

Quotative Inversion

Collins, Chris and Phil Branigan. 1997. Quotative Inversion. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 15.1, 1-41

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