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Abstract

Abstract

We investigate optional predicate agreement in Santiago Tz’utujil (Mayan). Several generalizations emerge: (i) inanimate arguments base-generated as complements control agreement optionally; (ii) some animate arguments base-generated as complements control agreement optionally; (iii) all arguments base-generated as specifiers control full agreement obligatorily. We propose that two conditions must be met for the operation A to succeed, resulting in the exponence of all the features of the agreement controller. First, a goal must be visible (bear the right feature). Second, a goal must be accessible (be in the right structural position). If one or both conditions are not met, A fails, but the derivation converges and 3 agreement is exponed. While A is deterministic, surface optionality arises when the operation fails. We use optional agreement to diagnose the syntactic structure of understudied constructions in Mayan (nominalizations, Agent Focus). We discuss microvariation, highlighting methodological considerations that arise when assuming an I-language approach.

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/content/journals/10.1075/lv.20013.lys
2021-10-26
2021-12-09
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: Agent Focus ; optionality ; Tz’utujil ; Agree ; microvariation ; Mayan ; syntax ; agreement ; specifier ; complement
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