Agreement, locality, and the syntax of pronouns: The Person–Case Constraint and beyond
Steven Foley, Maziar Toosarvandani
November 2019

In many languages with clitic or other weak pronouns, a Person–Case Constraint (PCC) (Perlmutter 1971, Bonet 1991) prohibits certain combinations of these pronouns based on their person features. This paper explores the crosslinguistic variation in such constraints, starting with several closely-related Zapotec varieties that restrict combinations of clitics based not just on person, but also on animacy. Operating within a larger combinatorial space, these constraints offer a new perspective on the typology of Phi–Case Constraints (ΦCCs) more generally. This typology has an overall asymmetrical shape correlating with the underlying syntactic position of pronominal arguments. We develop a principled theory of this typology that incorporates three hypotheses: (i) ΦCCs arise from how a functional head Agrees with clitic pronouns, subject to intervention-based locality (Anagnostopoulou 2003, Béjar and Rezac 2003, 2009); (ii) the variation in these constraints arises from variation in the relativization of probes (Nevins 2007, 2011); and, (iii) clitic and other weak pronouns have no inherent need to Agree, though they must be local to an appropriate functional head (cf. Cardinaletti and Starke 1999). [A revised version of "Pronoun movement and probe generosity":]
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004814
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: pronouns, agreement, agree, person, animacy, gender, number, movement, clitics, locality, intervention, person-case constraint, person, animacy, gender, number, phi-features, zapotec, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v1 [September 2019]
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