Cased PRO: From GB to Minimalism and Back Again
Indiana University, Bloomington
1. PRO in Government and Binding versus PRO under minimalism
This paper revisits the idea of cased PRO, raises conceptual challenges, and evaluates alternative approaches. Under GB, PRO was necessarily caseless. This followed from the claim that case is needed for nominals to be pronounced, but PRO is by definition silent. Caseless PRO was “derived” through the famous “PRO Theorem.”1 With minimalism’s rejection of government the PRO Theorem was rendered moot, and with no generally accepted theory of case assignment (or checking or valuation) there was no reason why PRO should not also have case. The problem however of delimiting the distribution of PRO remained, so the idea was put forward that PRO is licensed by a special kind of case that has no PF consequences. Chomsky and Lasnik (1993) proposed that PRO be endowed with “null Case,” and Martin (2001) developed related arguments about null/silent Case and the distribution of PRO.
Data from predicate adjective agreement has since been invoked to determine the quality of null Case, the assumption in e.g. Franks (1998), Landau (2008), or Sigurðsson (2008) being that the overt/morphological case of a predicate adjective reflects the silent/abstract Case of particular instances of PRO. Relevant Russian and Polish examples follow:
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