Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

Get access

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). 


Johni seems [ ti to like linguistics very much].


Whomi does Bill like ti?


pro  ha    parlato.  (Italian)


         has  spoken.3sg


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


Cite this page
Barry YANG, “Empty Categories”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 28 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000141>
First published online: 2015

▲   Back to top   ▲