Dutch specCP-expletives are main clause complementizers

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This paper focuses on so-called specCP-expletives in Belgian Dutch dialects, a type of expletive that only occurs in clause-initial position. The traditional account of these expletives is that they are phrases that are merged in specCP. This paper argues against this analysis, and proposes instead that they are the overt realizations of a C-head, i.e. that they are main clause complementizers. The second(ary) theme of the paper is microvariation within the Belgian Dutch dialects with respect to the presence or absence of these specCP-expletives/main clause complementizers. I show this split to be part of a larger empirical generalization, and propose a parametric account for the difference between the two dialect groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-416
JournalThe Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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