Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 231–250 | Cite as

Case in Sakha: are two modalities really necessary?

  • Theodore Levin
  • Omer PremingerEmail author


Baker and Vinokurova (2010) argue that the distribution of morphologically observable case in Sakha (Turkic) requires a hybrid account, which involves recourse both to configurational rules of case assignment (Bittner and Hale 1996; Marantz 1991; Yip et al. 1987), and to case assignment by functional heads (Chomsky 2000, 2001). In this paper, we argue that this conclusion is under-motivated, and present an alternative account of case in Sakha that is entirely configurational. The central innovation lies in abandoning Chomsky’s (2000, 2001) assumptions regarding the interaction of case and agreement, and replacing them with Bobaljik’s (2008) and Preminger’s (2011) independently motivated alternative, nullifying the need to appeal to case assignment by functional heads in accounting for the Sakha facts.


Syntax Morphology Sakha Turkic Case Agreement Case-competition 



We are grateful to Sabine Iatridou, David Pesetsky, and Norvin Richards, to audiences at MIT’s Syntax Square and at the 2012 annual meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB 2012), and to three anonymous reviewers, for helpful discussion and comments. Additional thanks to the editor, and one of the reviewers, for their help with structuring and streamlining the presentation. All errors are our own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics & PhilosophyMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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