The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling Lunch 12/04 - Heidi Klockmann

Speaker: Heidi Klockmann (MIT/Utrecht)
Title:Case, Agreement, and Hierarchies: Fitting in Inherent Case
Date/Time: Thursday, December 4, 12:30-1:45pm
Location: 32-D461

In this talk, I consider the variation found in systems of case and agreement cross-linguistically, focusing specifically on languages which show accusativity or ergativity in their case or agreement. There are in principle four language types, for which it has been claimed that only three exist (cf. Bobaljik 2008): ergative case with ergative agreement (e.g. Hindi, Gojri), ergative case with accusative agreement (e.g. Nepali, Bantawa), accusative case with accusative agreement (e.g. Polish), and accusative case with ergative agreement (the gap). I present data from the case-agreement systems of these languages, as well as a discussion of the nature of structural and inherent case assignment. I propose that inherent case is actually the realization of some form of a P-head and that languages can differ in their inventory of P-headed cases. I treat these PP-cases as being generally opaque to external processes, such as agreement (see Rezac 2008), and show how this assumption can be used to model the case-agreement systems discussed here.