Empty Categories
(2,525 words)

An empty category (EC) refers to a nominal element that is phonetically null (or unpronounced). Four types of EC are generally identified in the generative linguistic literature, i.e., NP-trace in the raising construction (1), wh-trace (sometimes called "variable") in the wh-question (2), pro in the null subject (sometimes null object) construction (3), and PRO in the control construction (4). 

1.

Johni seems [ ti to like linguistics very much].

2.

Whomi does Bill like ti?

3.

pro  ha    parlato.  (Italian)

 

         has  spoken.3sg

4.

Johni plans [PROi to visit his aunt next week]. 

The…

Cite this page
Barry YANG, “Empty Categories”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 20 October 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000141>
First published online: 2015



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