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This thesis investigates the properties of Ancient Greek (AG) infinitival clauses and their subjects and how they can be accounted for within a generative framework. AG infinitives appear in many syntactic environments and they also have a variety of morphological forms, whose interpretation as temporal or aspectual is debatable. Moreover they license overt subjects in accusative case (Accusativus Cum Infinitivo-AcI) and they can also exhibit Control, where there is no accusative case detectable on the null subject and instead it appears with the case of its controller from the main clause (Case agreement across copula-CAAC). The main questions that this thesis addresses therefore are: (a) what licenses accusative, when accusative is present (instances of disjoint reference and emphasis, as well as non-controlled null subjects), (b) what disallows the availability of accusative in cases of control/CAAC and (c) whether this interchange relates to other properties of AG infinitival clauses, morphological/semantic or what. The analysis we will put forward goes against others in the literature, which reduce AcI to an instance of Exceptional Case marking (ECM) or relate it solely to the alleged temporal properties of the infinitives. Instead we argue for a series of things: (a) that all infinitival clauses are CPs, (b) that there is a split between two types of CPs however, based on their discourse properties: normal C*Ps, strong phases (in Chomsky’s, 2001 sense) that have a contrastive focus feature vs. CPs, weak phases that do not have this feature and consequently no discourse domain. The latter are instantiated as Control infinitives where there is also no availability of accusative for the infinitival subject. In order to relate the two properties we argue for the following: a morphologically rich non-finite T can value the Case of its subject. Whether it will actually do so depends on the existence and the feature content of the infinitival C: if C has a contrastive discourse feature, then it can consequently inherit the Case feature to non-finite T, which in turn can value the Case on the subject DP. If on the other hand, infinitival C does not have a discourse feature, then Case on the infinitival subject cannot be valued from within the infinitival clause and the latter is a weak phase, a domain transparent to operations from outside, where CAAC obtains. According to this analysis the EPP feature of non-finite clauses, when it exists, is related to discourse and it is neither a formal syntactic feature nor solely a PF feature. In the last part of this thesis we extend our analysis to other constructions that exhibit the interchange between overt subjects with case and null subjects with and without case as well as Control, namely Latin AcI, AG absolute participles and Modern Greek na clauses etc. We show that both in the finite and the non-finite domain, discourse features giving rise to two types of Cs, play a bigger role in syntactic operations than often assumed.
Original languageEnglish
TypePhD thesis
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2007


  • Ancient Greek
  • infinitives
  • Case
  • Focus
  • subjects
  • Accusatives Cum Infinitivo
  • Control.


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