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To agree or not to agree

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Abstract

Non-Caribbean Spanish is a prototypical null-subject language. Yet, verbs normally enter into an agreement relationship with the (overt/null) subject. In some cases, however, certain acceptable sentences contain an anomalously-agreeing subject in terms of one of the three agreement/&#402;&#243;-features, namely person, number, and gender. Assuming that the nominals in question establish an Agree relationship with the verb <i>&#224; la</i> Chomsky (2000, 2001, 2004, 2008), I submit that in Spanish there is an operative condition on the output of Agree, which posits that if full/optimal agreement between the verb and the subject does not obtain, at most one feature can be left unchecked/ unvalued syntactically. The remaining unvalued feature of T<sup>0</sup> is deleted/valued for convergence through alternative agreement mechanisms available in the grammar, including default agreement and possibly semantic/pragmatic agreement. From this, it follows that agreement in Spanish may not be a quintessentially syntactic phenomenon handled exclusively by a probe-goal system like Chomsky&#8217;s <i>Agree</i>. Keywords: <i>Agree</i>; subjects; disagreement; extra-grammatical agreement; Spanish

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