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Remarks on the Infinitival Subject of Perception Verb Complements: Evidence for Two Syntactic Configurations

Publication: Revue roumaine de linguistique, LVIII (3), p. 299-312
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:This paper presents and discusses the infinitival complement structure of perception verbs in Romance languages. Building our analysis on evidence coming from argument structure, clitic climbing, fronting, and negation, we argue that verbs of perception which, apparently, take the same infinitival complements are able to enter two types of syntactic structures that should receive different analyses. We start our demonstration by drawing attention to the fact that the infinitival subject of the complement clause can occupy a pre- or a post-infinitival position, and that its behaviour becomes a crucial argument in favour of our analysis. This paper proposes that perception verbs license two syntactic configurations: on the one hand, an ECM-like configuration, and, on the other, a configuration in which the perception verb and the infinitive form a complex predicate, a process that will have obvious consequences on the case-marking of its arguments.
Key words:perception verbs, infinitival complementation, exceptional case marking, complex predicates, Romance languages
Language: English

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