Clausal complementation and the status of French à/de ce que

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In this paper, we examine in some detail the syntactic distribution and semantic properties of French tensed clausal complements introduced by à/de ce que. We argue that the clausal determiner analysis put forth in Zaring (1992) is inadequate for explaining their distribution and that an extension of Kayne's (1999) treatment of à and de + infinitive to à/de ce que is also unlikely to yield the right results since a number of contexts reveal that the distribution of so-called prepositional complementizers in infinitives and that of à/de ce que only partially overlap. We propose instead that à/de ce que are noncompositional elements of the C system that are restricted to tensed clausal complements to verbs, nouns and adjectives that form coherent semantic classes. This type of selection and distribution is shown to be strongly reminiscent of that of indirect interrogative si. Finally we argue, based on topic placement, that given Rizzi's (1997, 2001) multi-layered approach to the C system, de ce que, just like que, occupies the head of ForceP while à ce que appears in a lower position: head of IntP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2193-2210
Number of pages18
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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