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The Object Agreement Constraint

  • Javier Ormazabal
  • Juan Romero
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper deals with the so-called Person Case Constraint (Bonet, E. 1991), a universal constraint blocking accusative clitics and object agreement morphemes other than third person when a dative is inserted in the same clitic/agreement cluster. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we argue that the scope of the PCC is considerably broader than assumed in previous work, and that neither its formulation in terms of person (1st/2nd vs. 3rd)-case (accusative vs. dative) restrictions nor its morphological nature are part of the right descriptive generalization. We present evidence (i) that the PCC is triggered by the presence of an animacy feature in the object’s agreement set; (ii) that it is not case dependent, also showing up in languages that lack dative case; and (iii) that it is not morphologically bound. Second, we argue that the PCC, even if it is modified accordingly, still puts together two different properties of the agreement system that should be set apart: (i) a cross-linguistic sensitivity of object agreement to animacy and (ii) a similarly widespread restriction on multiple object agreement observed crosslinguistically. These properties lead us to propose a new generalization, the Object Agreement Constraint (OAC): if the verbal complex encodes object agreement, no other argument can be licensed through verbal agreement.

Keywords

Agreement Animacy Person case constraint (PCC) Object Agreement Constraint (OAC) Clitic clusters Ditrinsitive Constructions Applicative object 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Basque Studies (HEIS)/Group of Theoretical Linguistics (HiTT)University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU)Vitoria-GasteizSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Filología HispánicaUniversidad de ExtremaduraCáceresSpain

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