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Probes and Goals

In Progress. Handbook Article (Invited). Cambridge Handbook of Minimalism. CUP. 

In Progress.

Agreement involving T or v uniformly instantiates agreement with a subject or object. Clause-peripheral “C-agreement”, in contrast, is splintered, masking a slew of disparate phenomena which are seldom discussed in the same breath (but see Baker, To Appear): e.g. (West Germanic-style) downward complementizer agreement (DCA, see van Koppen, 2017), upward complementizer agreement (UCA, in many Bantu languages Diercks, 2013, a.o.), and so-called allocutive agreement (AA) in e.g. Basque, Japanese & Tamil (Oyharçabal, 1993; Miyagawa, 2017; McFadden, To appear). What causes this contrast and how can it be modelled? Here, we undertake one of the first detailed comparisons of these phenomena to show that the heterogeneity of C-agreement is epiphenomenal of two factors: (i) that it involves distinct C heads in DCA, UCA, and AA, all of which crucially also stand in different structural relations wrt. the embedded CP phase; (ii) that the structure of the CP itself is distinct in (D/U)CA vs. AA.

2016. In The Impact of Pronominal Form on Interpretation: 77-106. Eds. Patrick Grosz and Pritty Patel-Grosz. Studies in Generative Grammar, de Gruyter, Mouton. 

This paper presents new data pertaining to the Anaphor Agreement Effect (the observation, originally noted in Rizzi, 1990, that anaphors in many languages seem incapable of triggering φ-covarying agreement) from the Dravidian language, Tamil. On the one hand, this data will be seen to further support the AAE as a robust crosslinguistic generalization. On the other hand, it will be shown to yield new insight on the theoretical principles underlying this descriptive one, and to question the possible loci for parametric variation – by virtue of employing a hitherto unreported strategy to obey the AAE. Specifically, it will be argued that the verbal agreement triggered in the scope of the anaphor is triggered, not by the anaphor itself, but by a different DP in the local phase. 

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