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Title:Reanalyzing the definiteness effect: evidence from Danish
Authors:Line Hove Mikkelsen
Abstract:This paper presents a novel analysis of definiteness
effects in expletive and related constructions.
Where previous analyses posit a restriction on what can
appear in the pivot position, the present analysis treats
the definiteness effect as an epiphenomenon arising from
the interaction of constraints governing the subject
position, in particular the cross-linguistic preference for
definite over indefinite subjects. The definiteness effect
reflects the fact that definite DPs are forced to move to
subject position where possible, whereas indefinite ones
are not. When a definite DP is prevented from moving to
subject position for independent reasons (reating to Case
assignment) it may surface in pivot position. This shows
that the definiteness effect is not absolute, but can be
overridden when other considerations outweigh the
preference for a definite subject. Expletive insertion itself
is seen as a way of resolving the conflict between avoiding
an indefinite DP in subject position and satisfying the
requirement that something must occupy that position.

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1