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Long-distance agreement for person: Some new data from Icelandic

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Theodora Alexopoulou.

Note: This talk will take place in GR04

One of the well-known features of Insular Scandinavian is the possibility for the finite verb to agree with a nominal that is not in the “canonical” subject position high in the left periphery of the clause. Most attention has been given to cases where a non-nominative DP occupies the canonical subject position and the verb agrees with a nominative object, or with the nominative subject of an embedded small clause, and a number of theoretical conclusions about the mechanism of agreement have been drawn from the observation that in such cases there is never agreement for person, but only number. One additional piece of this puzzle is that lack of person agreement results in ungrammaticality in some cases, but in default agreement in others. In this talk, based on joint work with Jutta Hartmann (University of Tübingen), I will explore a case of apparent “long distance” agreement which does—at least for some speakers—allow person agreement: copular sentences with two nominative arguments. Such cases have been claimed not to exist in Icelandic, but i will present the results of two recent experiments that we have conducted that include robust attestation of person agreement, but also some challenging variation.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Linguistics Forum series.

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