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The Syntax of Person 

IGRA 08/Modul 04-046-2015 Syntax A-II

Thursdays 11.15-12.45, SR H1 5.16, GWZ

The course is concerned with investigating the structure and representation of the PERSON category in syntax and how it interacts with other categories and operations in the syntactic derivation. Some of the questions we will be interested in exploring are:

  • What kind of feature structure does PERSON require?

  • Do 1st and 2nd-person form a natural class to the exclusion of 3rd-person?

  • Is 3rd-person a real person (relatedly: are there two types of 3rd- person)?

  • Is PERSON different from the other phi-features (NUMBER and GENDER) as far as the syntax is concerned?

To this end, we will examine a series of linguistic phenomena that are sensitive to PERSON from a variety of perspectives, such as:

- pro-drop for subject and object,

- the Person Case Constraint (PCC),

- person-based ergativity splits and agreement asymmetries (e.g. Baker's SCOPA, pre-verbal vs. post-verbal agreement in e.g. Arabic,            unagreement phenomena),

- person hierarchy effects and person-based syncretism patterns,

- (apparent) referential mismatches (e.g. fake indexicals, imposters, indexical shift).

Reading List: