Agreement Reading Group, 3/14

This week’s AGR Group will be a presentation via Skype by Will Oxford, University of Manitoba/University of Toronto. He’ll be presenting “Intralanguage variation in multiple person agreement”.
Who: Will Oxford (UManitoba, UToronto)
When: Friday 11:30am
Where: Room 117
Title: Intralanguage variation in multiple person agreement
Abstract Excerpt:
The status of portmanteau person agreement is controversial: is it simply a matter of fusion (Noyer 1992) or contextual allomorphy at PF (Trommer 2007), or does it reflect true multiple agreement in the narrow syntax (Georgi 2011)? Alternatively, are both of these possibilities attested (Woolford 2012)? This paper presents evidence that portmanteau agreement is determined by the narrow syntax in several Algonquian languages. The evidence involves a correlation between portmanteau agreement and the system of direct/inverse marking. Each of the languages displays two different patterns of portmanteau person agreement (patterns A and B) as well as two different patterns of direct/inverse marking (patterns A and B). Interestingly, these phenomena correlate: clauses with portmanteau pattern A also display direct/inverse pattern A, and likewise for pattern B. I will show that the portmanteau and direct/inverse patterns can be analyzed as sharing the same underlying source: variation in the articulation of the person probe, which is specified as [uPerson, uProximate, uParticipant] in the A contexts and as [uPerson, uProximate] in the B contexts. Since the direct/inverse system has effects on quantifier scope and binding, the agreement and movement operations triggered by this probe must take place in the narrow syntax. Since portmanteau agreement follows from the same source, its origin is thus syntactic as well.
The full abstract can be found from the WCCFL 32 program here.

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