On the nature of nominal features
Agreement mismatches pose a challenge for standard conceptions of Agree as a Probe-Goal feature valuation process of a single set of φ-features. In this paper we focus on sentences with a subject DP formed by two singular conjoined Ns, such as <i>La madre e hija vinieron juntas</i>, in which agreement inside DP gives rise to Closest Conjunct Agreement – D agrees in singular with the first N – while Subject-Tense agreement is plural. To solve this puzzle we argue for the necessity of incorporating into the minimalist framework the distinction between concord and index features, as proposed in other theoretical frameworks. Ns and Ds carry these two sets of features which, we claim, are introduced in independently motivated bundles. Building on Frampton & Gutmann’s (2000, 2006) Feature Sharing theory and Chomsky’s (2001) Maximization Principle, we articulate a single agreement process which derives the two ways in which agreement proceeds in conjoined structures.