Dominique Sportiche

Department of Linguistics

3125 Campbell Hall


Los Angeles CA 90095-1543

Email: firstname dot lastname AT u c l a . e d u

Research Interests

Dominique Sportiche works on formal syntax. He has focused on the theory of constituent structure, and properties of the syntax/semantics interface (especially in French and the Romance languages) as they bear on the architecture of syntactic or grammatical theory and on cognition in general. He has published work on phrase structure, agreement, clitics, and reconstruction phenomena. His current theoretical interests and ongoing works include phrase structure and the functional sequence, the internal structure of VPs, reconstruction phenomena, and the binding theory. From an empirical standpoint his work focalizes primarily on various aspects of the syntax systems of English, and of French and the Romance languages (complementizers, relative pronouns, reflexive constructions, binding theory). In recent years his work has extended to the relation between linguistic theory and (i) linguistic impairment (in Huntington's disease patients), (ii) very early acquisition of syntax and (iii) grounding theoretical choices in more systematic methods of data collection and control (particularly regarding the binding theory, and the French complementizer system).


Publications, Articles To Appear or (Downloadable) Manuscripts


o (2016) Neglect (or doing away with Late merger and Countercyclicity). Ms. UCLA.

o (2016) Anaphor Binding – What French Inanimate Anaphors Show. with Isabelle Charnavel. Linguistic Inquiry. 2016;47(1) (prepublished version: here)

o (2014) The que/qui Alternation: New Analytical Directions (with Hilda Koopman), in Functional Structure from Top to Toe, P. Svenonius (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York.

o (2014) Assessing Unaccusativity and Reflexivity, Using focus alternatives to decide what gets which theta role, in Linguistic Inquiry) Vol. 45, Issue 2 - Spring 2014, pp.305-321. (prepublication version: here)

o  (2014) Introduction to Syntactic theory and Analysis, with Hilda Koopman and Edward Stabler. Blackwell Publishers.

o (2014) Local Binding Indeed, in Connectedness, with Byron Ahn, Papers by and for Sarah VanWagenen, Carson T. Schuetze and Linnaea Stockall eds., UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 18, 2014.

o (2103) Grounding Syntactic Variation: A plea to develop SSWL. Slides Presented at: " Advances in Phylogenetic Linguistics" Workshop , Ragusa July 2013.

o (2013) Binding Theory Structure Sensitivity of  Referential Dependencies,  in Lingua, Volume 130, Pages 187-208.

o (2013) French Reflexive se: Binding and Merge Locality, in Celebrating Locality, E. Aboh et al. (eds),  Oxford University Press.

o (2012) En deca de la frontiere de Frege? (with Isabelle Charnavel),  in Theories of Everything, in Honor of Ed Keenan, Thomas Graf, Denis Paperno, Anna Szabolcsi and Jos Tellings, eds., UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics Volume 17.

o (2012) as Sambin S., Teichmann M., Giavazzi M., Sportiche D., Schlenker P. & Bachoud-Levy A.C. The role of the striatum in sentence processing: Disentangling syntax from working memory in Huntington s disease, in Neuropsychologia. Volume 50, Issue 11, Pages 2625-2635.

o  (2012) Re Re again (or what French re shows about VP structures, have and be raising and the syntax/phonology interface), in L. Bruge, A. Cardinaletti, G. Giusti, N. Munaro and C. Poletto (eds.) Functional Heads: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, Volume 7, Oxford University Press, New York

o (2011) The van Riemsdijk Williams Paradox: in the Footsteps of de Fourier, slides of a talk given at the Parallel Worshop at USC in memory of Jean Roger Vergnaud.

o  (2011) French Relative qui, Linguistic Inquiry 42(1), 83-124.

o  (2011) Menace under the microscope: control and control shift in Jan-Wouter Zwart and Mark de Vries (eds.), Structure Preserved,  John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

o (2008) Inward Bound: splitting the wh-paradigm and French relative qui.

o (2006) NP Movement: How to Merge and Move in Tough-Constructions.

o (2005) Division of Labor between Merge and Move: Strict Locality of Selection and Apparent Reconstruction Paradoxes, in Proceedings of the Workshop Divisions of Linguistic Labor, The La Bretesche Workshop.

o (2005) "Cyclic NP Structure and the Interpretation of Traces" in Hans Broekhuis, Norbert Corver, Jan Koster, Riny Huybregts and Ursula Kleinhenz (eds.), Organizing Grammar: Linguistic Studies in Honor of Henk van Riemsdijk, Berlin/New York, Mouton de Gruyter.

o (2003) Reconstruction, Binding and Scope, ms. UCLA. Prepublication version. Appeared in Everaert, M., H, van Riemsdijk The Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Volume I-V, Oxford: Blackwell. (2006)

o  (1998) Partitions and Atoms of Clause Structure, Routledge, London.

o (1998) Pronominal Clitic Dependencies, in Language Typology: Clitics in the European Languages, Henk van Riemsdijk, ed., Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin..

o (1997) Subject Clitics in French and Romance, Complex Inversion and Clitic Doubling, in Studies in Comparative Syntax, Kyle Johnson and Ian Roberts, eds., Kluwer Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

o (1995) Sketch of a Reductionist Approach to Syntactic Variation and Dependencies, in Evolution and Revolution in Linguistic Theory, H. Campos and P. Kempchinsky, eds., 356 - 398, Georgetown University Press

o (1995) "French Predicate le and Clausal Structure", in Small Clauses, A. Cardinaletti and M.T. Guasti, eds., Syntax and Semantics, volume 28, Academic Press, NY.

o (1995) "Clitic Constructions", Phrase Structure and the Lexicon, L. Zaring and J. Rooryck, 213-276, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht .

o (1995) Subject clitics in French and Romance: Complex inversion and clitic doubling. To appear in Studies in Comparative Romance Syntax, Kyle Johnson and Ian Roberts, eds. (Dordrecht: Kluwer)

o (1995) Pronominal clitic dependencies. To appear in Henk van Riemsdijk, ed., Language typology: Clitics in the European Languages (Berlin: Mouten de Gruyter)

o (1995) French predicate clitics and clause structure. To appear in Syntax and Semantics, vol. 28, Anna Cardinaletti and Maria Teresa Guasti, eds. (NY: Academic Press)

o (1994) with J. Aoun and E. Benmamoun "Agreement, Word Order and Conjunction in Several Varieties of Arabic", Linguistic Inquiry 25.2, 195-221.

o  (1993) Sketch of a Reductionist Approach to Syntactic Variation and Dependencies, to appear in Evolution and Revolution in Linguistic Theory: Essays in Honor of Carlos Otero , H. Campos and P. Kempchinsky, eds., (Dordrecht: Kluwer).

o (1992) "Clitic Constructions", to appear in Phrase Structure and the Lexicon, L. Zaring and J. Rooryck, eds. (Bloomington, Indiana: IULC).

o (1991) with H. Koopman The Position of Subjects, in Lingua 85.2/3, The Syntax of VSO Languages, J. Mc Closkey, ed., 211-259

o (1990) Movement, Case and Agreement, ms., UCLA, 201 pages.  appeared in D. Sportiche (1998)

o (1989) with H. Koopman Pronouns, Logical Variables and Logophoricity in Abe, in Linguistic Inquiry 20.4, 555-589.

o (1989) "Le Mouvement Syntaxique: Constraintes et Parametres", in Langages 95, p. 35-80.

o (1988) "A Theory of Floating Quantifiers and its Corollaries for Constituent Structure" in Linguistic Inquiry 19.2, 425-451.


Overview of some of the papers, and some hand outs or things which have not yet (fully) made it in article form:


o mittalk98.pdf  : This the handout of a talk given at MIT in 1998 presenting material taught at UCLA around 96-97. It builds on the previous but the basic idea that there is no process of head movement at all is explored a bit further.


o A number of talks between 1996 and the present were given on reconstruction under A-movement. The content of these talks is now part of the


o 2005 paper: Division of Labor between Merge and Move. Here is a description of the general ideas: SplitDPsSplitVPs.pdf . Here are a couple of representative handouts and an abstract which people request from time to time: mittalk97.pdf , glow99abs.pdf , glow99ho.pdf


o French predicate clitics and clause structure (1995) & Subject clitics in French and Romance (1995): aboutclitics.pdf



o lsrl94.pdf : This is the hand out of a talk given at the LSRL94 conference (Linguistic Symposium on Romance Linguistics) ( it was also presented at Cornell in 93): the basic idea is that there is no adjuncts or adjunction in syntax, only subjects and complements. It examines several different cases of putative adjunction, e.g. adverbs ( argues to be predicates of events, etc..), adjectives (ditto..), successive cyclic adjunction a la Barriers ( clausal structure has many more COMP positions than previously believed - based on agreement phenomena found in Kilega)...


o Movement Agreement and Case (1990):  aboutmac.pdf


Regularly Taught Courses

o Undergraduate:

o Introduction to the Study of Language (Ling 1)

o Introductory Syntax ( Ling. 120B )

o Advanced Syntax ( Ling. 165B )

o Graduate

o Graduate Introduction to Syntax I ( Ling. 200B ), II ( Ling. 206 ) or III ( Ling. 216 ),

o Syntax Seminars on Current Topics (Ling 252)

o Syntax and Semantics (Ling 262): a discussion group meeting weekly usually on Fridays 2-4pm.


Last updated: 03/2016