Concord and labeling
Vicki Carstens
September 2017
 

[This version revises some aspects of the unification of agreement and concord that I proposed in the first draft, and slightly alters the analysis of Maasai to reflect the changes.] This paper explores the labeling hypothesis of Chomsky 2013, 2015 in relation to DP-internal syntax. Possessors and external arguments (EA) of nouns give rise to [XP, YP] configurations, which are problematical for labeling under Chomsky's assumptions. But in languages with grammatical gender, N/n differ from their clausal counterparts V/v in having intrinsic phi-features. My paper claims that gender-number concord between n and a possessor or EA labels nP via shared features, enabling these arguments to surface nP-internally. Bantu languages (among others) show this feature-sharing clearly in the form of overt concord on the morpheme 'of' that introduces a lexical argument. In contrast, possessors in a number of genderless languages, including Turkish and Yup’ik, must raise to permit labeling of nP, and surface in a high functional category whose head can agree with them in the DP-internal counterpart to subject agreement (Abney 1987). The paper contributes to an ongoing debate regarding the mechanics of concord and its place in the grammar: is it a consequence of Agree in the syntax, or a distinct, perhaps post-syntactic process? Assuming that it feeds the labeling algorithm and bleeds DP-internal possessor raising and possessor agreement, gender-number concord must be syntactic. I argue for some simple modifications to Agree that enable a unified approach to agreement and concord. My proposals are based on data from Bantu, Afro-asiatic, and Romance languages on the one hand and Turkish, Hungarian, Yup’ik, Chamorro, and Tsutujil on the other. I also discuss Maasai, West Flemish, and Matsigenka, showing how to interpret the less transparent facts of their genitive constructions in relation to the labeling hypothesis.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003637
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: concord, labeling, agreement, possessors, np, dp, bantu, turkish, west flemish, linkers, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v2 [September 2017]
v1 [August 2017]
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