Universiteit Leiden

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The Rich Agreement Hypothesis: a language universal?

  • Olaf Koeneman (Radboud University)
Thursday 27 October 2016
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Joint work with: Hedde Zeijlstra (University of Göttingen)


After its initial success, the hypothesis that verb movement to an inflectional position in the clausal structure, I(nfl), correlates with richness of morphology in some sense (Kosmeijer 1986, Rohrbacher 1994, Koeneman 2000, among others), has been criticized to such an extent that it almost became the laughing stock of generative syntax. In this talk, however, we will defend this Rich Agreement Hypothesis in its strongest, bidirectional formulation (V to I movement takes place if and only if agreement is rich) and argue that all prominent counterexamples have been misanalyzed. This puts the hypothesis in the position of a potential universal, and entails that there is something to be explained (which we will do) and something to be explored for the languages that are not part of the Indo-European language group (which Seid Tvica (University of Amsterdam) has done). Apart from discussing these consequences, we will also address some recent criticisms directed against our work.

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