The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LingLunch 5/7 - Philip Shushurin (NYU/MIT)

Speaker: Philip Shushurin (NYU/MIT)
Title: On the lack of Direct Marking of NP-internal arguments.
Time: Thursday, May 7th, 12:30pm – 2pm

Abstract: I suggest a novel account of the well described lack of Accusative and Dependent Dative marking in the nominal domain. Based on Richards’ (2010) observations of Distinctness Violations, I suggest that no two nodes can merge directly if they both bear visible phi-features. This constraint can account for, on one hand, severe limitations on Structural Case in the nominal domain (Baker 2015, a.o.) and, on the other hand, near absence of predicative Agreement with NP-internal arguments. I show that the proposed approach can be further be extended to account for the lack (or the near absence) of Structural Dative in nominal structures, suggesting that Structural Dative can only be licensed in transitive structures. Adopting several insights in Deal (2010), Nie (2017) a.o., I show that transitivity alternations can arise at two places of the verbal structure (Voice/T) and (v/CAUS). I suggest that opaqueness for agreement of certain nominals is due to a formal feature rather than any lexical/syntactic category.