French adverbial clauses, rescue by ellipsis and the truncation versus intervention debate

J. Marc Authier, Liliane Haegeman

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5 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the restrictions on movement to the left periphery found in non-root environments such as French central adverbial clauses and argues that an analysis of main clause phenomena based on intervention/Relativized Minimality is to be preferred to one based on structural truncation. The empirical basis for this claim consists of an examination of some asymmetries between French infinitival TP ellipsis and infinitival TP Topicalization. Adopting Authie's (2011) approach to TP ellipsis whereby the to-be-elided TP undergoes fronting in the computational component but fails to be spelled out at PF, we argue that these asymmetries follow from the fact that in French, while a spelled out fronted TP is an intervener for wh-movement in adverbial clauses, leading to a PF crash, the ellipsis of this fronted TP leads to a convergent derivation via Bošković's (2011) mechanism of "rescue by PF deletion." This account entails that adverbial clauses involve wh-movement (Haegeman 2006, among others) and that the landing site for TP Topicalization is available in a non-root environment, two conclusions that militate against the hypothesis that non-root clauses have an impoverished left periphery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-71
Number of pages39
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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