How wrong is your existential? What ungrammaticality judgments can tell us about Preverbal versus Postverbal Agree
Adina Camelia Bleotu
November 2017

By relying on some ungrammaticality judgment tasks, where Romanian native speakers are asked to choose the more acceptable variant (the ‘lesser evil’) among two different ungrammatical sentences (copular and existential), containing violations of agreement, the paper shows that what is at stake in the subjects’ choices is neither the meaning of “to be” (existential “be” has the same effect as copulative “be”), nor the effect of the quantifier (as the sentence with the quantifier is still evaluated just the same as the one without), but rather the VS-SV distinction: speakers tend to accept agreement violations in the VS order more than in the SV order. The paper supports the idea that VS agreement is more permissive than SV agreement (Guasti & Rizzi 2002, Bjorkman & Zeijlstra 2014 a.o.) and accounts for this observation by arguing that, in addition to AGREE, SV agreement involves an additional step, namely, Spec-Head Agreement (Franck, Frauenfelder & Rizzi 2006, Franck, Lassi, Frauenfelder & Rizzi 2007).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003758
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: draft
keywords: degrees of ungrammaticality, agreement violations, sv, vs, syntax
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