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Complement clause section as a (non-)local relation

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1. Complement clause selection is treated as a local relation. Thus, a verb like ‘believe’ takes a that-complement as in (1), while a verb like ‘wonder’ takes an if/whethercomplement or a wh-clause as in (2):

(1) a. I believe that/if Mary left b. I believe who left

(2) a. I wonder if/ that Mary left b. I wonder who left.

The ungrammatical versions in (1) and (2) are consistent with the view that while cselection is the same (a clausal complement), the predicates differ in terms of s-selection (an embedded declarative vs an embedded interrogative (Grimshaw 1979, Pesetsky 1982, a.o.). On the other hand (some) propositional attitude predicates may allow for an embedded interrogative under certain conditions, as in (3):

(3) a. I don’t know if John left b. I know who left. c. I don’t believe if John left d. I can’t believe who left.

Adger & Quer (2001) argue that the if-clause in (3a) is an Unselected Embedded Question (UEQ) which is subject to the same licensing conditions as polarity items. This renders the complement clause an indefinite-like element, attributed to the properties of if (Roussou 2010). Still the problem remains for the examples in (3) and (4).

2. The patterns in (3) and (4), replicated for other languages including Greek, are taken as evidence that complement clause selection is not necessarily a local relation. It is argued that selection in this case is not computed at the vP phase but extends to the next phase up, namely C; this is what gives rise to the ‘non-local’ flavor. Assuming that the distinction between c- and s-selection is valid, the picture that arises shows that selection is the one computed at the C phase. Within this perspective, the look-ahead problem that arises in (3) and (4) is resolved, as far as a bottom-up derivational model is concerned. Further data from Greek support this line of theorizing with respect to other phenomena such as control, triggered by properties of the matrix clause in connection with the selecting predicate.

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