Agreements that occur mainly in the main clause

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Most agreement systems target a grammatical entity within the sentence, typically the subject but in some cases the object or the dative. There is another kind of agreement found in languages such as Souletin, a Basque dialect, that targets the hearer. I will look at this type of so-called allocutive agreement and pursue two main issues. First, although it targets the hearer, the form of the agreement is the same as the regular phi-feature agreement used for subject/object. This means that the allocutive agreement must be part of a probe-goal relation, leading to the question, where is the goal? I argue that something like Ross’s Performative Analysis furnishes the second-person goal. Second, the distribution of the allocutive agreement is essentially the same as the politeness marking on the verb in Japanese, which leads to the hypothesis that, despite Japanese being characterized as a typical agreementless language, the politeness marker is, in fact, an implementation of second-person agreement. Moreover, this allocutive agreement in Japanese has a distribution that limits it to the root clause as originally conceived by Emonds (1969).


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