This paper investigates the geometry of phi-features with a special
emphasis on number and gender in Spanish. We address (i) whether number
and gender evidence single- or multi-valued systems for their respective
features, and (ii) whether number and gender are bundled together or split.
Given the lack of consensus on these issues based on primary data, we approach
these questions experimentally, using the phenomenon of agreement
attraction: a situation in which ungrammatical sequences are perceived as
grammatical when one of the NPs is erroneously identified as determining
agreement. Our results indicate that number but not gender in Spanish is
multi-valued and offer novel support in favor of an agreement model in which
number and gender are in separte projections and are valued independently.
We also offer some considerations concerning parametric variation in such
This paper investigates cross-linguistic variation in extractability out of subjects. Our new acceptability judgment experiment, which controlled for a ‘long-before-short’ preference in Japanese, shows that Japanese subjects are as transparent to extraction as objects. Based on this finding, we classify languages into three subtypes with respect to subject opacity: (a) languages in which subjects are never transparent (English), (b) languages in which only in situ subjects are transparent (Russian, German), and (c) languages in which subjects are always transparent (Japanese). To account for these data, we offer a preliminary formal analysis that links this typology to the existence of subject Agreement and the EPP: (a) languages where subjects undergo Agreement and EPP movement, (b) languages where subjects only undergo Agreement, and (c) languages where subjects do not undergo either operation.
We present and analyze novel data on the northeast Caucasian language Archi illustrating a typologically unusual phenomenon of apparent agreement between 1st person pronouns and absolutive-marked arguments. Apart from their typological significance, these facts challenge current approaches to agreement, which hold that Agree relations can be established only between heads and phrases. The apparent agreement between a 1st person pronoun and an absolutive DP can be reduced to a more conventional agreement, namely, agreement between the absolutive DP and a series of v heads. We show that Archi has a contrast between strong and weak pronouns; the latter lack noun-class feature specification and must therefore copy a class feature from the closest v. In addition, Archi has complex pronouns (1st person inclusive) which are composed of 1st person exclusive pronouns and the focus marker -ejt’u. This focus marker is a D head which requires a noun-class feature and copies that feature from the closest v head.
This article examines the knowledge of topic and subject particles in heritage speakers and L2 learners of Japanese and Korean. We assume that topic marking is mediated at the syntax-information structure interface, while subject marking pertains to narrow syntax. In comparing phenomena mediated at different levels of linguistic organization, we provide evidence for the hypothesis that information structure-level phenomena present greater challenges for bilingual speakers than those mediated within syntax. While these results may be interpreted as evidence of generalized interface-related deficits, we show that such a global explanation is not supported. Instead, a more nuanced account is developed, based on the recognition of different types of topic (anaphoric, generic, and contrastive) and different types of subject (descriptive and exhaustive). Under the proposed account, the non-native speakers’ deficits follow from three unrelated effects: the status of topic as an interface category, structural complexity, and the memory demands necessary for its interpretation in context.
This chapter presents several approaches to the syntax of verb-initial (V1) languages with a special emphasis on Mayan and Austronesian languages. Some V1 languages are strictly VSO, others are VOS, and a significant number combine both orders. This chapter focuses on data from VSO/VOS languages and the factors that underlie these alternations. A number of V1 languages can be more adequately characterized as predicate-initial, with V1 being just a subset of clause-initial predicates. The chapter presents a number of structural properties that are or may be associated with V1 and discusses possible implicational relations between such properties and V1. While there are certain common characteristics observed across V1 languages, it is also clear that there are several distinct subtypes of V1. These subtypes call for different syntactic analyses; main approaches include the derivation of V1 via phrasal movement (VP-raising) and its derivation via head-movement (verb-raising). Other syntactic approaches to the derivation of V1 include the parametrization of specifier direction within a single language, non-configurational syntax, and subject lowering. In addition to these purely syntactic analyses, several recent approaches place the derivation of V1 outside syntax or at the syntax-PF interface. Careful, in-depth analyses of individual languages are required to test the different approaches to V1; in quite a few cases such analyses are still lacking.
A description of Tsez syntax, created as part of the volume “A Grammar of Tsez” prepared by Bernard Comrie and myself. Because this work is still a draft, chapters are not numbered, and each chapter has its own example numbering. I am posting it now in hopes of getting comments, criticisms, and suggestions before the description is sent to the publishers.