Closest conjunct agreement is an illusion: Evidence from gender agreement in Serbo-Croatian
Andrew Murphy, Zorica Puskar
September 2017

Much recent work on Closest Conjunct Agreement has argued that agreement must be sensitive to linear order. In this paper, we argue that the `closest' aspect of this phenomenon is in fact illusory. What may, at first glance, seem like linearly-conditioned agreement can instead by analyzed as varying orders of the operations Agree and Merge inside the conjunct phrase. Thus what may give the impression of agreement with a single conjunct is in fact agreement with a conjunct phrase which has inherited the features of only one of its conjuncts. Furthermore, the assumption that a given order of operations inside the conjunct phrase is repeated at later cycles of the derivation makes correct predictions about the possibility for each pattern to occur either pre- or postverbally. Thus, we arrive at a principled analysis of conjunct agreement, which derives only the attested patterns in Serbo-Croatian and rules out ungrammatical structures without recourse to linear order.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002689
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
keywords: closest conjunct agreement, syntax, opacity, serbo-croatian, syntax
previous versions: v3 [September 2017]
v2 [September 2015]
v1 [September 2015]
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