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Syntax Interface Lectures Utrecht


5 February 2018

Jan Casalicchio (Utrecht University)

Gerunds and infinitives in Romance Small Clauses

Jan Casalicchio, Utrecht University


In this talk I discuss the syntax of gerunds (1) and prepositional infinitives (2) used in Romance Small Clauses:

(1) Vi a Pablo llorando          (Spanish)

I.saw dom Pablo crying

(2) Vi o Pablo a chorar          (European Portuguese)

I.saw the Pablo to cry

‘I saw Pablo crying’

Although their superficial difference, I argue that these two constructions have the same basis structure: in both there is a preposition of zonal inclusion () (see MSF). However, in (1) the preposition is in TP: the verb, moving out of the vP/VP incorporates the preposition, giving rise to the gerundial form. In (2), on the other hand, the preposition is merged later: not in TP, but in the Head of the Small Clause itself (the subject of the SC is merged in the Specifier of the Small Clause in both (1) and (2)). The passage from structures like (1) to structures like (2) can be traced back in diachrony, and has led to an expansion of the SC-structure: some elements, like the negation, are possible in (2) but not in (1).