French Tough-movement revisited

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In this paper, we argue that predicates of the Tough-class in French embed not a verbal infinitive but rather, a gerundive verbal noun. This hypothesis allows us to capture a number of unexpected restrictions on French Tough-movement discussed by Legendre (1986). We show that these restrictions are best described as the inability of French Tough-movement infinitives to be followed by complements that are disallowed in their corresponding argument-taking event nominals. Our analysis of such infinitives as nominalized elements correctly predicts that they should never be selected by auxiliaries, and that they should have suppressed external arguments in the sense of Grimshaw (1990). French Tough-movement constructions are further argued to be closely related to the type of English gerund Huddleston (1971), Hantson (1984) and Clark (1985) call 'retroactive gerunds'. Like French Tough-movement constructions, English retroactive gerunds contain a gap, are possible only with a restricted class of predicates, do not license unbounded dependencies, and do not allow subjects, except when they are realized as by-phrases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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