I am analyzing Latin word order. As in many other languages, most Latin sentences begin with the subject, but I've noticed quite a few that have many complements and adjuncts and then end with the subject immediately following the verb. If Latin still has to satisfy EPP (Extended Projection Principle), does the subject ALWAYS have to raise from the Spec (Specifier) of VP (Verb Phrase) to the Spec of TP (Tense Phrase)? Or is there some way of overriding that so it can stay next to the verb like I've observed? I know complements and adjuncts undergo scrambling, but so far I haven't read anything that says the subject does too.

Examples from Pompeiian inscriptions

  • "normal" sentence according to SOV (Subject-Object-Verb) order:

Lucilla [subj] ex corpore [adjunct] lucrum [complement] faciebat [verb]

  • sentence where the subject is found right next to the verb:

Solacio matri tu Mater [subj] eras [verb]

  • 6
    Welcome to the site! Your questions sounds very interesting. Could you explain what all of those abbreviations are? That will make it more readable. Notably EPP, Spec, VP, TP, SOV. And scrambling, though not an abbreviation, could also be explained.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 0:08
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    Perhaps, it’d be helpful to mention the minimalist syntax (or program) somewhere in the question.
    – Alex B.
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 13:00
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    @lemontree♦: Admittedly, I posted that comment thinking I was on Latin Stack Exchange... Even so, don't you think there are plenty of people (not "any potential reader") who may know about this theory but have forgotten some of the abbreviations? With the proper terms, they could look up the theory, refresh their memory, and be able to answer the question. I know this has happened to me plenty of times. Many people are really bad at abbreviations. I would not say the upvotes to my comment prove anything, but...
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 13:07
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    I actually think there is a good chance I might be able to answer this question if only I could look up the theory: when you realise what a theory is about, it's often fairly obvious once you penetrate the abbreviations and other jargon. P.S. Nobody asked for a "full introduction to the underlying theory and all its concepts such that any potential reader understands the question in full detail".
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 13:07
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    @lemontree And those not in "the intended audience" would gladly not waste time trying to figure out what the acronyms stand for, just to find out that they are not in "the intended audience". Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


No. Not in the Turkish that is spoken in Istanbul. The evidence comes from scope relations when the subject is not dropped.

When you say:

Bütün çocuk-lar gel-me-di. 
all  kid-pl     come-neg-pst
All the kids did not come.

In English, the sentence is ambiguous. It can be either NOT ALL the students came (NOT > ALL) or No students came (ALL > NOT).

However, it is not ambiguous in Istanbul Turkish. It only means some of the students came and some didn't, which means negation has scope over the quantifier and the spec vp does not move to spec tp.

In Aegean Turkish, however, it is ambiguous. Either meaning can be attested like in English.


EPP entails that [Spec; TP] must be filled. However, the subject can move out from [Spec; TP] to an adjunct position, leaving a trace at [Spec; TP]. An example of such a movement is topicalization, which is an A'-movement and follows many properties of wh-movement.

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