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On Feature Inheritance: The Nature of Agreement and Anti-Agreement

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  • UserDr. Hamid Ouali (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
  • ClockTuesday 16 January 2007, 18:00-19:30
  • HouseG-R04, English Faculty.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Theresa Biberauer.

On Feature Inheritance: The Nature of Agreement and Anti-Agreement

Dr Hamid Ouali (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

In recent developments of Minimalism, Chomsky (2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005) argues that agreement results from a Probe-Goal relation established between a head X and an argument YP. Chomsky proposes that subject-verb agreement is obtained upon establishing an Agree relation between T and the subject (in Spec-vP). T however is not merged bearing φ-features but inherits these φ-features from C. In light of this hypothesis, this talk examines the nature of feature inheritance and its implications for the nature of agreement and the so-called Anti-Agreement Effect (AAE) (Ouhalla 1993, 2005b) in Berber.

I argue that in nonfinite clauses, the assumption that T, which presumably does not have “the properties of true tense”, is not selected by C, and therefore does not have φ-features seems to be logical since C, from which it inherits these features, was never merged. However, the assumption that in finite clauses, when C is merged, T inherits the φ-features from it is stipulative, and should in theory allow three logical possibilities: (a) C transfers the φ-features to T (DONATE), (b) C does not transfer the φ-features to T (KEEP) and© C transfers the φ-features to T but also keeps a copy (SHARE). In this talk, and building on Ouali (2006), I will show that all these theoretically viable options are empirically attested, with DONATE being the case in declaratives, KEEP being the case of local subject-extraction, and SHARE being the case in object extraction and long distance subject/objection extraction.

This talk is part of the SyntaxLab series.

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