The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 4/1: Pritty Patel

Please join us for this week’s Ling-Lunch:

Speaker: Pritty Patel
Time: Thurs 4/1, 12:30-1:45
Place: 32-D461
Title: First Conjunct Agreement under Agreement Displacement

This paper focuses on the object-verb agreement pattern present in the perfective aspect in Kutchi Gujarati (Indo-Aryan). The language has a 3rd person object reflexive NP, whose presence triggers agreement mismatch: The verb appears to reflect the features of the subject instead of the object. Such agreement displacement also occurs in clauses where the subject consists of two conjoined DPs and a plural reflexive object, pot-pothane. Canonically, in clauses with conjuncts in argument positions, the verb typically shows plural agreement. However the presence of this 3rd person reflexive results in 1st conjunct agreement (Benmamoun 1992). I propose reflexives cannot trigger verbal agreement (an anaphor agreement effect, Rizzi 1990), causing agreement displacement: The verb actually agrees with the subject rather than the reflexive object. I argue plural agreement is established via Agree under c-command (Chomsky 2001), a relationship between a probe and a goal, established when an agreeing head is merged.

Contrastively, I argue that first conjunct agreement is a second cycle effect (Bejar and Rezac 2009), where a probe on v can search as high as its specifier if it does not find a suitable goal in its c-command domain. I argue subject &P’s are phases, and spell out at the next phase level; the difference between plural agreement and first conjunct agreement is whether the &P has spelled out (which results in first conjunct) or not (which results in plural agreement). It follows that agreement displacement happens late in the derivation, explaining 1st conjunct agreement.