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Multiple Agreement and Case Deletion: Against -incompleteness

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I argue against Chomsky’s (1999, 2000) proposal that Case deletion correlates with the -completeness of probes, based on (i) the omission of gender in subject agreement in, for example, Romance languages; and (ii) the inclusion of full -features in subject agreement in Bantu, repeated on all verbal heads within a clause. I propose instead a return to the traditional view that certain categories are Case “assigners,” such that Agree deletes the goal’s Case only if the probe has an intrinsic structural Case value. Finally, I show that Agree so modified accounts for concord in noun phrases, including concord on ‘of’ in African languages, reflecting -features of head nouns. Crucial to this account is a structural analysis in which ‘of’ is merged with a nominal constituent that includes the head noun but excludes the surface ‘of’ object, be it possessor, agent, or theme.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Missouri-Columbia, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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