A complexity hierarchy-based solution to the clausal subject puzzle in Turkish

Duygu Göksu, Balkız Öztürk Başaran


This paper presents a novel analysis of subordinate clause structure in Turkish, focusing on subordinations formed by the following three suffixes: the infinitival -mA(K) with tenseless and (ir)realis usages, and -DIK/ -(y)ACAK with a (non)future temporal specification. We present a classification aligning each form on the Implicational Complementation Hierarchy (ICH) proposed in Wurmbrand and Lohninger (2020), which provides a solution for the subject puzzle observed with these clauses: only infinitival -mA(K) clauses with their (ir)realis use are compatible with being the subject of a transitive verb. We propose that (ir)realis infinitival clauses belong to the situation class in the ICH, and that this middle class is of the ideal semantic complexity and syntactic size for a clausal subject in Turkish.


complementation; embedded clause; external argument; nominalization; subject; Turkish

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v6i1.5146

Copyright (c) 2021 Duygu Göksu, Balkız Öztürk Başaran

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