Thursday 8 October – András Bárány & Jenneke van der Wal

Speaker: András Bárány (Bielefeld/LUCL) and Jenneke van der Wal (LUCL)
Title: We don’t Agree (only) upwards
Date: Thursday 8 October
Venue: Skype (contact us to get access to the meeting)
Time: 15.15 – 16.30 hrs

Bjorkman and Zeijlstra (2019) argue that Agree involves two operations:
checking and valuation. Checking always happens upwards, in a configuration in
which the checker of a feature, carrying an interpretable feature [iF], c-
commands the checkee, carrying an uninterpretable feature [uF]. Valuation
generally happens downwards, after the valuer has moved to the specifier
of the valuee. This makes very clear predictions, which we show are not borne

We discuss several configurations involving in situ agreement controllers which
have not featured in this debate: subject agreement with in-situ subjects in
Matengo and German, object agreement in Sambaa and Liko, and complementiser
agreement in Nez Perce. We argue that such φ-agreement phenomena indicate that
Bjorkman and Zeijlstra’s (2019) proposal is empirically inadequate. Adding
these data to the ongoing debate on the directionality of Agree (see Zeijlstra
2012, Preminger 2013, Bjorkman and Zeijlstra 2014, Preminger and Polinsky 2015)
is important because if a given approach is not empirically adequate, the
question whether it has conceptual advantages is moot.

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