Closest Conjunct Concord – A new approach to DP-internal Closest Conjunct Agreement

This week, George Bennett (UCL London) presents the main points from his MA thesis. 

Closest Conjunct Agreement (CCA) refers to the phenomenon whereby a verb agrees in gender/number with the linearly closest/adjacent of two (or more) coordinated subject DP/NPs. The commonly adopted asymmetrical/hierarchical model of coordination is argued to neatly account for post-verbal CCA under the assumption that the first (leftmost) conjunct is structurally higher than following conjuncts, and is therefore the first DP that the verbal Probe encounters during its downward c-command search for phi-valuation. This adjacency effect is also observed in the nominal domain (i.e. DP-internally) in a large number of European languages, in which a determiner and/or adjective agrees in gender with the closest noun. The few existing papers on DP-internal CCA more or less directly apply the Probe/Goal analysis of CCA in the clausal domain to determiner/adjectival agreement. However, in recent years, a growing number of linguists have hypothesized that DP-internal agreement (Concord) involves an entirely different mechanism than that which facilitates subject-predicate agreement, and have proposed instead that Concord is based on domination, rather than c-command. If this is true, then DP-internal CCA requires a new theory. In this presentation, I propose a new approach to DP-internal CCA – namely, Closest Conjunct Concord.

Published Oct. 21, 2022 2:33 PM - Last modified Nov. 1, 2022 8:33 AM