Obviation and Old French Subjunctive Clauses

  • Deborah L. ArteagaEmail author
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 95)


Obviation, or the fact that the subject of the subjunctival subordinate clause cannot be coreferential with the subject of the main clause, as seen by the French example, *je veux que je parte ‘I want that I leave’ (cf. Ruwet 1984), is a topic that has been discussed widely in the literature, especially for the Romance languages, including Catalan (Picallo 1985), French (Jackubowicz 1985), Old French (Martineau 1994; Arteaga 2015), Italian (Costantini 2005, 2016), Portuguese (Raposo 1987), Romanian (Farkas 1984), and Spanish (Kempchinsky 2009). This chapter considers the lack of obviation in Old French. After reviewing analyses proposing that obviation effects are related to tense construal in the subordinate clause, it is proposed that the analyses in San Martín (2007) and Laskova (2017) can be adapted to account for the lack of obviation effects in Old French and Romanian. Our analysis is an extension of Arteaga (2015), in that it is valid cross-linguistically and does not rely on the morphological development from Old French to Modern French.


Old French Obviation Sequence-of-tense Binding Theory Bulgarian 



I want to thank Julia Herschensohn for her extensive comments on earlier drafts of this paper, which I dedicate to her. She has been unconditionally supportive of both my professional and personal lives, and I owe her a great deal of gratitude.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of World Languages and CulturesUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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