Seminar: Erik M. Petzell on morphosyntactic variation and change in Viskadalian Swedish
Petzell discusses the Rich Agreement Hypothesis (RAH) in the context of data from Viskadalian Swedish.
Erik Magnusson Petzell (Institutet för språk och folkminnen, Gothenburg) is the second speaker in the seminar series on language change this autumn. His talk is entitled Morphosyntactic variation and change in Viskadalian Swedish. The seminar is is followed by snacks and refreshments – everyone is welcome!
In my talk, I address the alleged correlation between agreement inflection on finite verbs and verb movement to the I-domain known as the Rich Agreement Hypothesis (RAH). A decade ago, many considered the RAH to be dead (Bentzen et al. 2007). However, in recent years, it has been revitialised. In 2014, Koeneman & Zeijlstra reviewed and rejeceted all previous counter-examples. In 2017, Tvica conducted the most thorough RAH-test to date (in a typologically balanced sample of 24 languages), failing to falsify the hypothesis. In my talk, the empirical focus is on the varying morphosyntax of 20th century Viskadalian Swedish. Viskadalian verbs are inflected for both person and number, which should (given the RAH) trigger V-to-I. Still, it is only in the central parts of the Viskadalian dialect area (CV) that V-to-I occurs; in the south (SV), V must remain in situ (in VP). This lack of V-to-I in SV certainly appears to falsify the RAH. I argue, however, that the difference regarding V-to-I follows from SV and CV agreement being categorically different. Although both are semantically rich, only CV agreement is morphologically distinct, crucially triggering V-to-I. By contrast, in SV, agreement has been reanalysed either as embedded under tense or as part of the pronominal system. Both reanalyses can be described as instances of syntactic grammaticalisation in the sense of Roberts & Roussou (1999, 2003).
Bentzen, Kristine, Gunnar Hrafn Hrafnbjargarson, Thorbjörg Hróarsdóttir, and Anna-Lena Wiklund. 2007. “Rethinking Scandinavian verb movement.” Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 10: 203–233.
Koeneman Olaf & Hedde Zeijlstra. 2014. “The rich agreement hypothesis rehabilitated.” Linguistic Inquiry 45 (4): 571–615.
Roberts, Ian G., and Anna Roussou. 1999. ”A formal approach to ’grammaticalization’.” Linguistics 37 (6): 1011–1041.
Roberts, Ian G., and Anna Roussou. 2003. Syntactic change: a minimalist approach to grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tvica, Seid. 2017. Agreement and Verb Movement. The Rich Agreement Hypothesis from a Typological Perspective. Diss. University of Amsterdam.