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Workshop Phi and Agree

Wednesday 25 January 2023
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

This workshop is in honor of Astrid van Alem on the occasion of her defense. The workshop will be followed by an informal lunch. Please sign up here if you want to join for lunch.


10:00 – 10:40     Agreement and theta theory: a minimalist approach
                                   Jan-Wouter Zwart (University of Groningen)

While key components of the GB-era Theta theory (such as the Theta Criterium and the
Projection Principle) were famously abandoned with the introduction of minimalism,
other tenets of Theta theory (such as theta role assignment to noun phrases by V/v)
are still commonly assumed. This paper argues for a revision of the concept of
theta role assignment, in terms of valuation of features of the verb, aligning theta role
assigment much more closely with agreement than previously thought possible. It does,
however, suggest a reevaluation of the mechanism of agreement, not involving a probe-
goal mechanism but simply feature sharing/valuation.

10:40 – 11:20    Phi-mismatches in Igbo resumption                                                                                                 Doreen Georgi (University of Potsdam; online), joint work with Mary Amaechi, University of Ilorin. 

We present a new phi-mismatch pattern in resumption from Igbo (Benue-Congo, Nigeria) that is more complex than previously described patterns in this area because the availability of the mismatch depends on two factors: (i) A'-dependency type (movement vs. base-generation), and (ii) the type of antecedent: (a) pronominal vs. lexical N, (b) coordinated vs. simple. Resumptive pronouns (RPs) only exhibit a phi-mismatch if their antecedent is a simple personal pronoun that has undergone A'-movement. We follow van Urk (2018) in modeling such phi-mismatches as the result of partial copy deletion. However, we show that the language-internal variation in Igbo poses a challenge for van Urk’s (and subsequent) approaches, which make reference to static deletion domains. We propose a dynamic deletion rule that does not only capture the complex Igbo pattern, but also the cross-linguistic variation in phi-mismatches; the approach makes strong predictions about (im)possible patterns.

11:20 – 11:40    break

11:40 – 12:20    Agreement with preverbal and postverbal subject in Teke (Bantu B70)                     Zhen Li (Leiden University; online)

In Teke-Kukuya (Bantu, Congo), a preverbal subject always shows full phi-agreement with the verb, while only a restricted set of postverbal subjects in a non-subject relative can agree with the verb. In this talk, I give a preliminary account on this agreement asymmetry from a featural point of view. I also propose that in this language a pair of 3rd person pronouns can be featurally distinguished from the traditional class 1/2 pronouns in Bantu, which may be due to the presence of a discourse-related [person] feature.

12:20 – 13:00    Phi and exhaustivity in the Kinyakyusa DP                                                                                     Jenneke van der Wal (Leiden University)

Nouns in Kinyakyusa (Bantu, Tanzania) can appear with a V prefix preceding the noun class marker, the so-called ‘augment’, e.g. a-ma-bifu ‘bananas’, or with a CV prefix, e.g. ga-ma-bifu ‘only bananas’. Lusekelo & Van der Wal (to appear) show that the CV prefix is not in the same position and function as the V prefix and brings about an exhaustive interpretation of the noun. In this talk, I investigate the syntactic structure of the DP and the presence of ϕ features in the Kinyakyusa DP.

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