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What It Means to Agree: The Behavior of Case and Phi Features in Icelandic Control
Cherlon Ussery
480-488 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper accounts for a curious phenomenon in Icelandic control. Concord between predicate adjectives and subjects suggests that PRO always bears the controller's phi features, but optionally bears the controller's case feature. To date, no proposal has divorced this asymmetry between case and phi features. The author builds on previous analyses which argue that PRO bears standard case—i.e., the case of overt lexical DPs (Thráinsson 1979, Andrews 1981, 1982; Sigurðsson 1989, 1991; and Landau 2004, 2006). Additionally, she follows Boeckx and Hornstein (2006) and Landau (2000, 2004, 2006) in utilizing multiple Agree to account for feature transmission. However, she departs from these analyses by arguing that there is an obligatory direct Agree relation between two DPs, the controller and PRO, which results in phi-feature matching. Crucially, she argues that there is an optional multiple Agree relation which results in case matching. Additionally, she provides an account of control with 'promise.' The observation that PRO cannot bear the case of the controller in this construction has gone unexplained in the literature. She illustrates that this is due to the structural uniqueness of 'promise.' She argues that the object of 'promise' blocks multiple Agree, preventing the controller and PRO from being assigned case by the same functional head.

Published in

Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00