A NULL SUBJECT IN EARLY MODERN ENGLISH: A PRINCIPLES AND PARAMETER APPROACH
AbstractThe aim of the paper is to show how a language with rich agreement inflection like Early Modern English, has null pro subject allowed in the structural subject position of finite clauses, whereas in a language with poor agreement morphology like Present-day English it is not allowed. It further illustrates that the rich AGR(eement) inflections in Early Modern English serve to identify the null pro subject, since the feature-content of the latter (i.e. the pro) can be recovered from the AGR morpheme on the verb morphology. Following Chomsky’s (1993) Principles & Parameters theory, I show how the nominative Case and agreement features of the (pro) subject are allowed and how the tense features of the verb attract other features from the weak position in Early Modern English.