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The Rich Agreement Hypothesis beyond Indo-European

  • Seid Tvica (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Thursday 9 February 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

It is well-established in the literature that many Germanic and Romance languages differ in the placement of adverbs, appearing either before or after the finite verb. This typological distinction is standardly accounted for via v-to-I0 movement, arguably triggered by the subject agreement features that are assumed to be located at I0 (cf. Roberts 1985; Kosmeijer 1986; Rohrbacher 1994; Vikner 1995; Bobaljik and Thráinsson 1998; Koeneman and Zeijlstra 2014, among many others). The observed correlation between the properties of agreement morphology and verb movement gave rise to the so-called “Rich Agreement Hypothesis” (RAH) which states that in controlled environments the finite verb moves to a vP-external position if and only if the agreement morphology is rich (cf. Koeneman and Zeijlstra 2014).  In this talk, I present the results of a typological investigation of the RAH, showing that the hypothesis holds in all studied  languages outside Indo-European that exhibit environments in which the presence (or absence) of verb movement can be detected. Although a number of languages prima facie appear to challenge the RAH, it turns out that these “counter-examples” arise due to either morphological triggers of verb movement that are not related to agreement, or other types of displacements, such as vP- and vP-remnant movement.

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