Vera Gribanova


Stanford University

Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 2:00 PM in AP&M 4301


Case and agreement across Uzbek nonfinite clause types

Abstract: This talk presents the results of ongoing work on the distribution of differential subject case and subject agreement in nonfinite clause types in Uzbek, an under-explored Turkic language spoken primarily in Uzbekistan. These patterns persist across a diverse range of constructions, including nominalized clausal arguments, propositional adjuncts, relative clauses, and complex noun phrases. Subject case (nominative vs. genitive) and the presence/absence of subject agreement vary across these constructions. The analysis leads to a number of consequences for two competing theories of both case and agreement --- head-licensing via AGREE (Chomsky 2000) vs. configurational case assignment (Yip et al. 1987, Marantz 1991, Bobaljik 2008, Preminger 2014, Baker 2015, inter alia). I highlight two areas where it appears that these theories must converge on the same analytical device(s) to capture the relevant data.

First, I demonstrate that genitive marking on the subject of these clauses is made available by the presence of a functional head with a particular featural specification (but not by that same functional head when it has a slightly different featural makeup). Second, evidence from agreement in copular clauses demonstrates that the nominal that is agreed-with is not always the nominal that is assigned genitive case, even though Uzbek is generally a subject agreement language. Such patterns arise because Uzbek copular clause agreement comes with a person hierarchy effect in which second and first person are preferred over third (similar to Bejar and Kahnemuyipour’s (to appear) findings for Eastern Armenian); this preference can result in genitive being assigned to a third person nominal while a first/second person nominal is agreed with. On either of the approaches to case and agreement discussed in the talk, the Uzbek facts provide evidence for an approach in which the components of an agreement relation involve both interaction and satisfaction (Deal 2015): functional heads that act as agreement probes interact with any viable target, stopping only when they hit upon the right set of features to satisfy the features of the probe.

Colloquia Abstracts