Past participle agreement in Abruzzese: split auxiliary selection and the null-subject parameter
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- D’Alessandro, R. & Roberts, I. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2010) 28: 41. doi:10.1007/s11049-009-9085-1
In this paper, we present an analysis of the “person-driven” auxiliary-selection system of one variety of the Upper Southern Italo-Romance dialect Abruzzese, along with an account of the pattern of past participle agreement in this variety, which differs somewhat from what is found in more familiar Romance languages. Our account relies on the technical mechanisms of agreement as outlined in Chomsky (1995, 2001), in particular a variant of Chomsky’s (2008) proposal regarding feature inheritance by non-phase heads of features belonging to phase heads, combined with Gallego’s (2006) notion of phase-sliding. We also utilise some aspects of Müller’s (2004) analysis of ergativity, and propose an account of a typological generalisation regarding the absence of person-driven auxiliary selection first put forward in Kayne (2000:127) in the Germanic languages. To the extent that the analyses proposed successfully apply the mechanisms put forward in the recent versions of the minimalist program, the postulation of these mechanisms is supported by our analysis with evidence from a new empirical domain. We also offer some general speculations regarding auxiliary selection in general.