On the Restricted Distribution of pro in Double Argument Constructions: A Processing Account

Bum-Sik Park 1 , *
Author Information & Copylight
1Dongguk University
*Corresponding Author : Associate Professor, Department of English, Dongguk University-Seoul, 3-26 Pildong, Chung-ku, Seoul 04620, Korea, E-mail:

ⓒ Copyright 2019 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Mar 02, 2019 ; Revised: Mar 25, 2019 ; Accepted: Apr 22, 2019

Published Online: Apr 30, 2019


This paper discusses the restricted distribution of pro in Double Argument Constructions (DArC). While it is generally assumed that Korean rather freely allows pro in argument positions, it appears that in certain DArCs, pro is not permitted in the second NP position. I argue that this restriction results from the processing mechanisms that discern the overtness of an argument. In particular, extending upon the works of Bae and Park’s (2018), I show that when an overt argument and a pro/null argument compete for a potentially matching predicate, the overt argument is chosen over the pro for processing in order to reduce the processing load. Subsuming the apparent restricted distribution, this analysis leads to the conclusion that in DArCs, pro does not take part in processing regardless of its position. I further show that the same processing effects arise in fragments that do not involve pro.

Keywords: Double Argument Constructions; pro; processing; double nominative; double accusative; ellipsis; fragments



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