PublisherUniversity of Arizona Linguistics Circle
JournalCoyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics, Linguistic Theory at the University of Arizona
AbstractThis paper uses case and agreement patterns to argue for a reformulation of Agree (Chomsky 1995, 2000, 2001). Throughout syntactic literature, various proposals that account for the assignment of case and agreement have been made. Chomsky (1991) proposes that different projections are responsible for the two types of features. Case is assigned in Spec,TP, while agreement is established in Spec,AgrP. By contrast, Agree divorces feature checking from movement (Bobaljik and Wurmbrand 2005, Wurmbrand 2006). Case and agreement are assigned under c-command via the same Agree operation. A head, T, checks the case of a DP with a matching case feature and, in turn, that DP checks the agreement features on T. The prediction, therefore, is that case and agreement should necessarily pattern together: verbs should agree with DPs that are in a case relationship with T. I provide evidence not only that case and agreement features may pattern differently, but also that individual agreement features may pattern differently. As such, I argue that features on heads – not heads themselves – are probes. While I argue that case and phi features are not an indivisible bundle, I maintain the proposal that feature-checking need not force movement to a specifier, thus eliminating the need for independent agreement projections. Additionally, I illustrate probing is not restricted to c-command. I redefine Agree so as to allow a probe-goal relation to be established either under c-command or in a spec-head configuration.