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On the strength of D0: case resolution phenomena in free relative clauses

Sanfelici, Emanuela

Linguistische Berichte (LB), Bd. 2023 (2023), Iss. 274: S. 5–61

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Sanfelici, Emanuela


This paper proposes a novel account of free relative clauses (RCs), which associates case resolution patterns to the typology of D0 heads à la Longobardi (1994), Guardiano & Longobardi (2005). Although free RCs generally obey matching requirements, certain languages tolerate configurations where the case assigned by the matrix clause to the nominal phrase containing the free RC conflicts with that assigned within the RC. Languages vary as to whether they allow for case conflicting configurations and apply case resolution, and, if they do, as to whether the case conflict is resolved in compliance with that assigned from the matrix or the RC probe. By adopting a cartographic approach to free RCs, I account for the linguistic variation by means of two ingredients: (a) the property of the D0 head in a given language, strong vs. weak D0, and, in turn, of the feature-sharing mechanisms between D0 and the lower heads; (b) the operation of chain reduction phrased in terms of a subset relation.