This paper examines the mechanisms of argument licensing by focusing on the syntax of direct objects. The main claim is that both Agree and Spec-Head agreement are necessary to account for the licensing of internal arguments, contrary to recent universalist proposals that try to eliminate either one or the other. The choice between them is taken to be a point of parametric variation between languages. Empirical support comes from three asymmetries between Dutch and Basque in the distribution and properties of direct objects. These asymmetries can be explained in a unified way under the assumption that Dutch objects are licensed VP-internally via Agree, whereas Basque objects require overt movement to SpecAgrOP.
Proceedings of the 24th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by John Alderete, Chung-hye Han, and Alexei Kochetov
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