Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 583–646 | Cite as

Long-Distance Agreement And Topic In Tsez

  • Maria Polinsky
  • Eric Potsdam
Article

Abstract

This paper presents and analyzes a unique pattern of long-distance agreement (LDA) in the Nakh-Daghestanian language Tsez, spoken in the Caucasus. The phenomenon, in which a verb may agree with a constituent inside its clausalcomplement, poses a serious challenge to theories of agreement locality. In anumber of formal syntactic theories, agreement between a head and an argumentreflects some very local clause-mate configuration, often specifier-head. Wedemonstrate that this is inadequate for a satisfactory analysis of LDA and wepropose an alternative that appeals to a less local configuration resemblinghead government. Crucial to our analysis of LDA is the generalization that LDAis triggered by a constituent which must be a topic. We argue that the agreementtrigger moves covertly to an A' topic position within its own clause where it is in a local agreement configuration with the verb. Independent evidence forcovert movement and the existence of configurations which block LDA support theanalysis. The primary conclusion is that syntactic agreement cannot be reducedto a specifier-head configuration in all cases. The theory must allow a lesslocal configuration in which the target simply governs the agreement trigger.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Polinsky
    • 1
  • Eric Potsdam
    • 2
  1. 1.Linguistics Department, 0108University of CaliforniaLa Jolla
  2. 2.Program in LinguisticsUniversity of FloridaGainesville

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