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A syntactic analysis of secondary predication in Spanish1

  • Enrique Mallén (a1)

This article argues in favour of a syntactic analysis of secondary predication as first proposed in Williams (1980) and against the semantic approach to predication defended most recently in Napoli (1989). Most of the evidence to be adduced in the proposed analysis comes from Spanish. We posit that secondary predicates are base-generated inside VP in Spanish, confirming Culicover & Wilkins's (1984) and Roberts's (1988) analysis for English. Under this hypothesis, object-oriented (O-) predicates occur inside the c-domain of V as sisters to the verbal complement, whereas subject-oriented (S-) secondary predicates attach to VP as sisters to the subject. Based on this asymmetry and adopting Jaeggli's (1981) assumption that initial wh-traces must be lexically identified, we explain the fact that only O-predicates can undergo wh-movement in Spanish. This restriction on wh-movement follows from the syntactic configuration assigned to secondary predicates in which both predicates are governed by V, but only O-predicates are c-commanded by V.

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