Accepted. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. PDF: contact me
The control dependency in grammar is conventionally distinguished into two classes: exhaustive (i → i) and non-exhaustive (i → i + ( j)). In this paper, we use primary data from German and Italian to show that natural languages seem to allow another kind of control, “proxy control”, which is neither exhaustive nor non-exhaustive in the sense given above. Proxy control involves a mapping between one set of individuals i and another proxy(i) that is discourse-pragmatically related to it. For any three sets of individuals i, j and k, where i and j are core participants in an eventuality e1 and k is a core participant in e2, an eventuality related to e1, k = proxy(i) iff (i) k is a suitable representative or “stand-in” for i in e2, according to i and j; and (ii) i and k are directly associated through some discourse-salient group or activity. We first show that proxy control is irreducible to other, more familiar referential dependencies. We then present standard empirical diagnostics to illustrate that proxy control can be instantiated both as a species of obligatory control (OC) and non-obligatory control (NOC). Differences in perspectival opacity- and discourse sensitivity effects further show that proxy OC and proxy NOC correspond to distinct underlying structures, a conclusion that is bolstered by Floating Quantifier agreement in Italian and Condition B obviation effects in German, which pattern differently across proxy OC and NOC. We investigate the syntax and semantics of proxy OC and NOC in detail and also present a detailed proposal for the factors conditioning the choice between the two, and between different degrees of exhaustiveness (exhaustive vs. partial vs. proxy) in control. We conclude by presenting initial case-studies for proxy control in Hebrew, Hindi/Urdu and gerundivals in English, and by presenting preliminary evidence for proxy control from Indonesian, Romanian, and French.