The Syntax of Agreement and Concord

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"Agreement" is the grammatical phenomenon in which the form of one item, such as the noun "horses," forces a second item in the sentence, such as the verb "gallop," to appear in a particular form, i.e. "gallop" must agree with "horses" in number. Even though agreement phenomena are some of the most familiar and well-studied aspects of grammar, there are certain basic questions that have been rarely asked, let alone answered. This book develops a theory of the agreement processes found in language, and considers why verbs agree with subjects in person, adjectives agree in number and gender but not in person, and nouns do not agree at all. Explaining these differences leads to a theory that can be applied to all parts of speech and to all languages.

About the Author:
Mark. C. Baker is Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521671569
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/29/2008
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics Series, #115
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

MARK C. BAKER is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
List of abbreviations and conventions     xiv
Introduction: category distinctions as a window on the theory of agreement     1
A generalization to be explained     1
The incompleteness of previous discussions     3
What a better theory could look like     6
What is in this book     6
What is not in this book     7
Basic agreement and category distinctions     12
The generality of the categorical asymmetries in agreement     13
The category-theoretic infrastructure     27
The agreement-theoretic contribution     40
Explaining the basic categorical asymmetries in agreement     48
Issues arising     56
Conclusion     64
The unity of verbal and adjectival agreement     65
Downward agreement on adjectives     67
Upward agreement on verbs     74
Verbs that cannot agree in person, like adjectives     85
Conclusion     107
Explaining the restriction on person agreement     111
Person agreement and other categories     112
Operator-variable agreement and Agree     121
A locality condition on first and second person variables     124
On the strictness of locality conditions involving heads     138
Deriving the SCOPA     142
Conclusion     148
Parameters of agreement     153
Introduction: parameters and other kinds of variation     153
Agreement on tense     157
Agreement on F[subscript A] and the formulation of the parameters     171
Agreement on complementizers     178
Agreement on determiners     184
Agreement on adpositions     191
Agreement on v     196
Agreement on the linker head     206
Agreement in auxiliary constructions     207
A third value for the Direction of Agreement Parameter     214
Many little parameters or two big parameters?     219
General conclusion     244
Table of languages and their agreement properties     246
References     254
Index     264

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