Agreement and the Person Phrase hypothesis.

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

In this paper I argue that Small pro is not needed as a representative for null subjects in languages like Italian, Spanish, Standard Arabian etc. Instead I propose the Person Phrase hypothesis, which claims that agreement originates as the head of the subject argument. this argument is analyzed as PersP, seen as an expanded DP, [PersP Agr DP]. Agr is a bound morpheme, and thus cannot survive within PersP, but must internally merged to TP, where it eventually will amalgamate with the tensed verb. This explains why languages with active agreement also have verb raising, whether or not they are null-subject languages. In the main part of my paper I demonstrate that the Person Phrase hypothesis provides a unified answer to three central questions regarding subject-verb agreement. (a) Why are not all languages with rich subject-verb agreement null-subject languages? (b) Why do some languages allow null-subjects only with certain persons in certain tenses? (c) Why do some languages with subject-verb agreement show full agreement with a subject that precedes the verb, but partial agreement with a subject following the verb?

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameWorking Papers in Scandinavian Syntax
ISSN (Print)1100-097X

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Swedish (015011001)