The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

This week’s LingLunch: Omer Preminger

Mark your calendar to come and join us this Thursday for a Ling-lunch talk by:

Omer Preminger (MIT)
“Basque Ling-Lunch Redux.”

WHEN: Feb 14, 12:30
WHERE: 32-D461


Part II of the Basque Ling-Lunch series will begin with a recap of Episode One – attendance of previous talk will not be assumed! – where it was shown that apparent cases of Long-Distance Agreement (LDA) in dialectal Basque do not in fact constitute a case of true LDA (construed as agreement that spans across the boundaries of established locality domains). I provide evidence that the cases in question fall into one of two categories: either (i) the apparent LDA relation is comprised of two separate agreement relations, “stacked” on top of one another, each of which is perfectly well-behaved with respect to the relevant locality restrictions; or (ii) the agreement relation in question spans the boundaries of neither DP nor CP, and is thus typologically unexceptional.

In this brand new episode, I turn to the distinction between Agree (conceived of as a relation between a probing head and a goal) and clitic-doubling (conceived of as the generating of a clitic which is matched in phi-features with a full argument DP). Certain asymmetries in the reach of so-called LDA when targeting dative noun-phrases and targeting absolutive ones suggest that absolutive agreement is an instance of Agree proper, whereas the dative (and ergative) exponents on the auxiliary are the result of clitic-doubling. In the climactic finale, I present an independent diagnostic for distinguishing Agree from clitic-doubling: when so-called LDA fails to obtain, the agreement-bearing form of the auxiliary is obviously ruled out; the question is whether what shows up is default agreement on the corresponding exponent, or rather an auxiliary form that lacks the relevant exponent altogether. I show that precisely in those relations hypothesized here to be Agree relations, failure of the relation results in default agreement-whereas in those relations hypothesized here to be clitic-doubling, failure results in the wholesale absence of the relevant exponent.