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Share Paper 1231

On Feature Misplacement: Case, Agreement, and (Non)-Configurationality
Vita G. Markman
263-271 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Pesetsky and Torrego (2001) propose that uninterpretable features such as case features and phi-feature are actually interpretable but misplaced. This paper adopts their proposal and advances two related claims. First, the author argues that feature misplacement is a strategy languages use to preserve PF records of thematic relations and is not universal; in the absence of misplaced features, PF records of thematic relations are preserved via rigid word order. Second, focusing on how absence or presence of case features interacts with presence of agreement, she argues that languages that lack case features but have agreement features will be non-configurational. This is so because a probe (T with misplaced phi-features (Chomsky 2000)) must perform a deletion operation in return for agreement. If an NP lacks a case feature and T agrees with it, the NP will be deleted as a result. Any overt NPs in languages without case features but with agreement will be adjuncts. The proposal derives a typology of case and agreement systems and explains the consequences case and agreement have for the freedom of order.

Published in

Proceedings of the 24th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by John Alderete, Chung-hye Han, and Alexei Kochetov
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00