Obligatory and optional resumption; case studies in the syntax of Romanian and Iraqi Arabic
Resumption has been the object of lively research (Doron 1982; Sells 1984; McClauskey 1990; 2002; Shlonsky 1992; Cann 1999; Sharvit 1999; Alexopoulou 2006; Guilliot 2006; Malkawi 2009; Rouveret 2011) and various analyses consider it a form of agreement, a last syntactic resort or a special kind of ellipsis. On the theoretical side, I survey the issues that are the background of the research, such as the nature of the pronouns that are involved in resumption. I develop a syntactic analysis of resumptive pronouns in which they are clitics (Cardinaletti and Starke 1999; Dechaine and Wiltschko 2002; Roberts 2010) and they form a complex determiner phrase together with the relative pronoun or interrogative pronoun. I argue that when resumption is obligatory, it follows from requirements in the syntax and only when it is optional it is a phenomenon at the syntax-pragmatics interface. On the empirical side, I contrast and compare the pronominal paradigms of Arabic and Romanian, an Eastern Romance language which strikingly shows a similar pattern of resumption as Arabic: (i) obligatory resumption in relativization, (ii) designated relative pronoun. Though for Romanian nobody has disputed the nature of the clitic pronouns as clitic in the sense that I am adopting (Cardinaletti and Starke 1999), it has not been thoroughly documented either. I then discuss the pragmatics of resumption in contexts in which it is optional, such as D-linked questions in Arabic. The difference between obligatory resumption and optional resumption is not found in the syntax, because this same syntactic derivation is associated with different interpretive effects depending on whether it occurs in obligatory or in optional contexts. I argue that the presence of the pronoun when it is not required by the syntax triggers a change in interpretation: the module pragmatics assigns it a pragmatic feature.
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