We are happy to announce a talk by Zorica Puškar-Gallien (ZAS Berlin) in the Syntax Colloquium.

The talk will take place on campus in IG 4.301.

Titles: On the theoretical and empirical challenges of multiple agreement with subjects and objects

Date: October 24

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct

This talk will focus on languages in which a finite verb agrees with the subject (S) and object (O), and in which O-agreement is argued to be conducted by a head high in the syntactic structure, such as T/Infl. Of particular interest are the verbal morphological templates in which O-agreement is realised by affixes closer to the verbal stem than S-affixes (Hungarian, Trommer 2003, E Kiss 2019; Tundra Nenets, Nikolaeva 2014; Khanty, Mansi, Mordvin, E Kiss 2019, Quechuan, Myler 2017, Nez Perce Deal 2017). Under Mirror Principle, this indicates that O-agreement applies before S-agreement, which is problematic for the standard Minimalist view of agreement, under which the subject should act as an intervener. The puzzle will then be extended to other languages (belonging to Uralic, Algonquian, Quechuan, Basque, Guiacuran, Chukotko-Kamchatkan and Sahaptian families), also argued to involve a high O-agreement head, in which S and O agreement interact in different ways (S/O portmanteau agreement, inverse agreement, ‘omnivorous agreement’). 
This type of multiple agreement poses a problem for each of the crucial ingredients of Chomsky’s (2000; 2001) Operation Agree: Matching (multiple Goals must be detected and Matched, without necessarily including their complete phi-set), Minimality (interacting with the lower O argument past the higher S), Locality (the two Goals belong to two different phases, O is in the vP domain, S is at the edge) and Activity (agreement across an active S should be impossible). The idea to be explored is that each of the challenges can be overcome by assuming a combination of (i) complex Probes on the T-head, (ii) a universal salience hierarchy of nominal phrases encoded syntactically by various sizes of the DP (ii) Relativized Probing, and (iii) defining locality derivationally, in terms of agreement paths, as opposed to phases.