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Title:Agreement Impoverishment under Subject Inversion - A Crosslinguistic Analysis
Authors:Vieri Samek-Lodovici
Abstract:Agreement Impoverishment under Subject Inversion - A Crosslinguistic Analysis

Vieri Samek-Lodovici
University College London

In principle optimality theory makes it possible for a single set of universal constraints to entail universal generalizations while at the same time deriving language specific properties such as the distinct lexical inventories associated with specific phenomena across different languages.

This works exploits this property of OT to derive aspects of crosslinguistic agreement inventories for Iº - namely what features of Iº may agree with a subject when this takes different positions within the clause - while at the same time entailing the universal generalization that agreement under a spec-head configuration, i.e. strictly within the local IP phrase and with no inroads into its VP-complement, is never poorer than that occurring within the clause extended projection, such as agreement between Iº and c-commanded subjects within the VP-complement.

Agreement is claimed to be a property of syntactic domains, encoded in the constraints AGR and EXT-AGR. These require agreement to occur strictly within the local projection of an agreement head, or, respectively, within the larger extended projection of the same head. They interact with NO-FEATS, which militates against any morphologically expressed agreement feature. Thanks to their 'telescopic' properties-EXT-AGR being satisfied whenever AGR is- the overall OT interaction entails the generalization on agreement impoverishment, while the rank of NO-FEATS in each possible constraint hierarchy determines what features may express agreement in the associated language.

The paper also includes discussion and evidence for the generalization on agreement impoverishment, as well as a comparison with alternative minimalist approaches to the same phenomenon.

A version of this work is to appear in a special issue of Linguistische Berichte.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Syntax, agreement impoverishment, subject inversion, agreement inventory
Article:Version 1