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Foundational Issues in Linguistic TheoryEssays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud$
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Robert Freidin, Carlos P. Otero, and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262062787

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262062787.001.0001

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Clause Structure and the Syntax of Verbless Sentences

Clause Structure and the Syntax of Verbless Sentences

(p.104) (p.105) 5 Clause Structure and the Syntax of Verbless Sentences
Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory

Elabbas Benmamoun

The MIT Press

This chapter examines clause structure and the syntax of so-called verbless sentences, focusing on a key issue in the theory of clause structure that also engages the interface between syntax and morphology: whether both tense and verb are universally projected elements in every clause. Drawing on a study of verbless sentences in Arabic, it argues that tense is universally projected but verb is not and proposes that tense is categorially defined in terms of a feature D (nominal) and an optional feature V (verbal). More specifically, it suggests that past tense is specified for both D- and V-features, while present tense is specified for a D-feature only. The chapter also considers whether verbless sentences have a verbal copula, sentential negation and tense, the morphology of tense, and the nominal feature of tense.

Keywords:   clause structure, syntax, verbless sentences, morphology, tense, verb, Arabic, feature D, feature V, verbal copula

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