Semantically Based Universal Definitions of Grammatical Agreement and Agreement Domain Universals: A Critical Evaluation

  • Peter Schmidt
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization book series (STUDIES CLASS)


There exist two major proposals concerning the feasibility of a universal semantically based definition of grammatical agreement (GA), and the issue of a universal semantically based solution to the domain problem of GA, viz. Keenan’s functional (dependency) principle and its elaborations, and the’coreference/anaphoric’ approach, first presented in Lapointe (1980). Both proposals have been put forward as absolute universal principles governing GA. This paper pursues several issues related to empirical testability of both approaches and shows, on the basis of Indo-European and Non-Indo-European evidence, that there exist significant counterexamples to both principles, which invalidate them as absolute universals and seriously undermine the corresponding universal definitions of GA.


Semantic Function Universal Definition Categorial Grammar Directional Constraint Noun Class 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Schmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Linguistische DatenverarbeitungUniversität TrierTrierGermany

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