Dative experiencers and (null) subjects in Peninsular Spanish infinitives


  • Peter Herbeck Universität Wien


Dative experiencers have been argued to have certain subject properties in finite domains. The question thus arises whether they can ever be controlled like structural (null) subjects. In the literature, it has been argued that one feature distinguishing dative experiencers from (nominative) subjects in Spanish is that the former cannot be controlled, differently from true quirky subjects. By examining corpus data, I argue that

Dative experiencers have been argued to have certain subject properties in finite domains. The question thus arises whether they can ever be controlled like structural (null) subjects. In the literature, it has been argued that one feature distinguishing dative experiencers from (nominative) subjects in Spanish is that the former cannot be controlled, differently from true quirky subjects. By examining corpus data, I argue that Spanish dative experiencers, even though they cannot be obligatorily controlled in complement infinitives, can appear in adjunct infinitives in non-obligatory control contexts. One property that is crucial for sanctioning this option is the possibility of licensing full DP subjects in nonfinite domains. If the subject position is occupied by a non-controlled nominative DP, dative experiencers are bound by logophoric or topic coordinates in C. The data give further support to an Agree-based theory of control, according to which the referential relation between the subject of infinitives and its controller is mediated by functional heads of the extended verbal projection.


dative experiencers, control, Spanish, infinitives, null subjects


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