We are happy to announce a talk by Feras Saeed (Göttingen) in the Syntax Colloquium.

The talks will take place in person. Room IG 4.301

Date: January 22, 2024

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct

Title: “On the morphosyntax of nominal modification: patterns of adjectival agreement”


In this talk, I look at three different patterns of adjectival agreement which arise in two different contexts in the Arabic noun phrase. In the first context, the adjective is postnominal [NA], hence it agrees with the modified noun in all features. In the second context, the adjective is internominal in the [N1-A-N2] configuration, i.e. cases where an adjective modifying a following noun ([N2]) is preceded by another noun ([N1]). Here, the adjective can, unexpectedly, display two different patterns of agreement, the choice of which depends on the morphosyntactic properties of the modified noun [N2]. Thus, if [N2] is nominative and cannot inflect for definiteness, the adjective shows split agreement, agreeing with [N1] in definiteness and case and with [N2] in number and gender. If, on the other hand, [N2] is genitive and inflects for definiteness, then the adjective shows misplaced agreement, i.e. it cannot agree with the modified noun [N2] in any feature, and instead agrees with [N1] in all features. A closer look at the derivational properties of adjectives in this language reveals that they have a different syntactic representation from what has been presumed previously, consequently their accessibility to nominal features is not after all unexpected. The corollary of this discussion is that nominal agreement is syntactic and subject to locality.