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Agreement and Its Failures$
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Omer Preminger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027403

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027403.001.0001

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Two More Case Studies in Failed Agreement

Two More Case Studies in Failed Agreement

(p.103) 6 Two More Case Studies in Failed Agreement
Agreement and Its Failures

Omer Preminger

The MIT Press

This chapter presents two additional case studies in support of one of the central claims advanced in the monograph: the existence of failed agreement in utterances that are nevertheless fully grammatical. The first case study, based on the work of Halpert (2012), involves the conjoint/disjoint alternation in Zulu and its interaction with nominal augment morphology. It is shown that disjoint morphology arises only as the result of attempted-but-failed agreement with a vP-internal argument. The second case study involves “simplex” (i.e., nonperiphrastic) unergative verbs in Basque. It is shown that, contrary to previous analyses, these verbs do not project an implicit direct object—and thus, lack an absolutive argument at any syntactically-relevant level of representation. Consequently, when they occur in a finite clause, such verbs give rise to a failure to establish successful absolutive agreement—a failure that poses no obstacle to the grammaticality of the utterances in question.

Keywords:   syntax, Zulu, Bantu, Basque, conjoint/disjoint, nominal augment, unergatives, failed agreement

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