Case transmission beyond control and the role of Person

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Downloads (Pure)


This paper focuses on the mechanism of case transmission found in Ancient Greek. Descriptively speaking, case transmission is the phenomenon whereby a DP from the main clause transmits its case to the null subject of the infinitival clause. In this paper we show that this mechanism is not only available in cases of obligatory control as argued by Landau 2000 and subsequent work, when the infinitival subject is a case-marked PRO (as argued for Icelandic by Sigurđsson 1991 a.o.) but also in cases of raising/long distance agreement (LDA), subject clauses of impersonals and infinitival clauses in indirect speech. Moreover, and again unlike other similar cases in the literature (most notably Icelandic), this case copying mechanism is available when the main clause antecedent bears any case: nominative, accusative but also genitive and dative. Prima facie these data seem to argue for a uniform treatment of all Ancient Greek cases as structural. We argue that OC, NOC, and raising/LDA in Ancient Greek involve Agree. We also adapt Sigurđsson’s 2008 proposal where infinitives involve a Person head that can be deficient and anaphoric (Borer 1989) and needs to be valued from somewhere. Case transmission is the way of signaling the person specification of infinitival clauses in Ancient Greek. We argue that the rarity of the Ancient Greek typological paradigm is reduced to a culmination of independently available rare language-internal properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-52
JournalJournal of Historical Syntax
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 8 Sept 2013


  • Corpus methodology
  • syntax
  • Ancient Greek.


Dive into the research topics of 'Case transmission beyond control and the role of Person'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this