On the Feature Composition of Participial Light Verbs in French*

Andrew Radford and Michèle Vincent

in Functional Heads

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746736
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949519 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax

On the Feature Composition of Participial Light Verbs in French*

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This chapter sets out to provide a contribution to our understanding of the feature composition of participles from the perspective of the Minimalist Program developed by Chomsky. It focuses on accounting for participle agreement in French in transitive clauses containing the auxiliary avoirhave. It follows Chomsky in taking transitive participles to be the spell-out of a functional head (an abstract light verb) that serves as the head of a phase, and looks at the featural make-up of the relevant type of functional head. It notes that participle agreement is optional and linked with movement, and proposes that this optionality is a consequence of two different mechanisms provided by UG for driving movement to the edge of a phase, via a selective or unselective Edge Feature. The chapter begins by providing a brief description of the conditions under which past participle agreement takes place with avoirhave in French.

Keywords: participles; Minimalist Program; French; transitive clauses; avoir; functional head

Chapter.  5666 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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