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Anaphor Agreement Effect

2015. DFG Project Proposal (running since June 2016). See our project page for more information. 

2016. In The Impact of Pronominal Form on Interpretation: 77-106. Eds. Patrick Grosz and Pritty Patel-Grosz. Studies in Generative Grammar, de Gruyter, Mouton. 

This paper presents new data pertaining to the Anaphor Agreement Effect (the observation, originally noted in Rizzi, 1990, that anaphors in many languages seem incapable of triggering φ-covarying agreement) from the Dravidian language, Tamil. On the one hand, this data will be seen to further support the AAE as a robust crosslinguistic generalization. On the other hand, it will be shown to yield new insight on the theoretical principles underlying this descriptive one, and to question the possible loci for paramet- ric variation – by virtue of employing a hitherto unreported strategy to obey the AAE. Specifically, it will be argued that the verbal agreement triggered in the scope of the anaphor is triggered, not by the anaphor itself, but by a different DP in the local phase. 

June 2016. Guest Lecture, Anglistik Oberseminar, Georg-August Universität Göttingen. 

The “Anaphor Agreement Effect” (AAE) (Rizzi, 1990; Woolford, 1999) is the observation that, overwhelmingly across languages, anaphors cannot trigger “regular” (i.e. φ-covarying) agreement.  Languages employ various parametrized strategies to avoid a violation of the AAE. Here, I will report on a new type of AAE from Tamil. On the one hand, this data adds further support to the AAE as a theoretical principle. I will also suggest that our current understanding of the AAE as a descriptive principle needs to be updated in light of the new strategy that Tamil (and languages like it, though I’ve only found one other, so far!) employs.

Towards the end,I will explore the idea of how the current proposal might be a challenge for Baker (2008)’s SCOPA (Syntactic Conditions On Person Agreement). 

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