The theory and syntactic representation of control structures: An analysis from Amharic

Tommi Leung, Girma Halefom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This paper conducts a detailed syntactic analysis of control structures in Amharic and sheds light on the current approaches to their syntactic representation and the operation thereof. Amharic control structures consist of the following components: (i) they are marked by the specific clause marker (CM) l-; (ii) the control clause always contains an imperfective verb; (iii) the control predicate is fully inflected by phi-features which are coindexical to the matrix subject; (iv) the subject of the control clause is a PRO; and (v) only exhaustive subject control is licensed. Amharic control poses a challenge to Landau (2014)’s proposal that the control possibility stems from particular combinations of tense and agreement features of the control predicate. Instead we claim that Amharic data fit better in the analysis of future infinitives (Wurmbrand 2014) and prospective aspect (Kratzer 2011; Matthewson 2012). In addition, the PRO-analysis of Amharic control also entails that the Movement Theory of Control (MTC) is disfavored.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number97
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Amharic
    • Aspect
    • Clause marker
    • Control
    • Embedded clause
    • Movement Theory of Control
    • PRO-analysis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Linguistics and Language
    • Language and Linguistics


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