In this dissertation, I investigate the sensitivity of φ-agreement to features typically associated with Ā-extraction, including those related to wh-questioning, relativization, focus and topicalization. This phenomenon has been referred to as anti-agreement (Ouhalla 1993) or wh-agreement (Chung and Georgopoulos 1988; Georgopoulos 1991; Chung 1994) in the literature. While anti-agreement is commonly held to result from constraints on the Ā-movement of agreeing DPs, I argue that it reduces to an instance of wh-agreement, or the appearance of particular morphological forms in the presence of Ā-features. I develop a unified account of these Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects in which they arise from the ability of φ- probes to copy both φ-features and Ā-features in the syntax, coupled with postsyntactic morphological operations that manipulate feature bundles containing both [φ] and [Ā].
The empirical foundation of the work is a typological survey of Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects in 63 genetically and geographically diverse languages. This study is the largest of its kind to examine these effects, and brings to light new generalizations both about the syntax of Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects and the behavior of φ-features in the presence of Ā-features.
I first investigate in detail the effect of Ā-features on φ-agreement in three languages: the West Caucasian language Abaza (O’Herin 2002); the Berber language Tarifit (Ouhalla 1993; El Hankari 2010); and the Northern Italian dialect Fiorentino (Brandi and Cordin 1989; Suñer 1992). I show that in all three languages, the agreement exponents that appear in the context of Ā-features are systematically underspecified. I argue that this underspecification results from the morphological operation impoverishment, a widely assumed morphological operation in Distributed Morphology (DM; Halle 1990, Halle and Marantz 1993) which deletes features from terminals postsyntactically prior to Vocabulary Insertion (Bonet 1991; Noyer 1992). I argue that φ-probes are able to copy both φ-features and Ā-features from their goals. In the morphological component, partial or total impoverishment may apply to the head containing both φ- and Ā-features, deleting some or all of the φ-features. Impoverishment blocks insertion of an otherwise appropriate, more highly specified agreement exponent.
I then examine the patterns of φ-exponence that emerge in the context of Ā-features. I show that leveling of φ-features in the presence of Ā-features can be total or partial and that the patterns of partial leveling are limited. Specifically, there is an implicational hierarchy that governs which contrasts can be leveled. Building on much existing work on the structure of φ-features, I adopt a version of Campbell’s (2012) two dimensional φ-geometries. These rich feature sets capture both dominance relations among φ-feature categories (person, gender and number) and entailment relations between subfeatures within those categories (such as ±participant and ±author). I argue that impoverishment operates over these rich φ-sets. Coupled with a constraint that restricts deletion to φ-categories, this theory of impoverishment derives all and only the attested patterns of φ-leveling in the context of anti-agreement. I further show that φ-feature impoverishment and the exponence of the Ā-feature that triggers impoverishment are formally independent. That is, a language may have a reduced number of φ-feature contrasts in the context of an Ā-feature without ever morphologically realizing the Ā-feature (as is the case in Fiorentino), or the Ā-feature may be realized without any φ-impoverishment taking place (as is the case in the Atlantic language Kobiana).
I explore the distribution of Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects. First, I present data from Tundra Nenets (Uralic, Nikolaeva 2014) and Abaza that Ā-movement is not required to trigger such effects. Tundra Nenets exhibits anti-agreement with true wh-in-situ, and Abaza exhibits anti-agreement triggered by pronouns bound by Ā-operators. Furthermore, I show that in the languages Dinka (Nilotic, van Urk 2015) and Selayarese (Austronesian, Finer 1997), although anti-agreement is linked to Ā-movement, the variation in which arguments and which Ā-dependencies trigger these effects cannot be explained structurally. In Dinka, syntactically identical Ā-dependencies differ as to whether they have a morphological effect on agreement. In Selayarese, there is no unique structural configuration that leads to anti-agreement. I show that the distribution of anti-agreement in Dinka and Selayarese can be derived through reference to the Ā-features that trigger anti-agreement (feature-based variation) and which heads are targeted for φ-feature impoverishment in the presence of an Ā-feature (probe-based variation).
I examine probe-based variation, focusing on languages in which clauses may contain multiple φ-probes. I discuss two types of cases. First, I investigate the distribution of antiagreement in languages where there are multiple φ-probes in a clause and these φ-probes always (or sometimes) target different arguments. I show that there is no systematic asymmetry in which heads are targeted for anti-agreement in such languages. I then discuss languages in which there are multiple φ-probes in a clause and those φ-probes target the same argument. Again there, is no gap in the distribution of which heads are targeted for impoverishment in these languages. 3
These facts lead me to conclude that the link between anti-agreement and Ā-movement is illusory. Because Ā-movement is derived by the presence of certain Ā-features on the moving DP, anti-agreement will most often coincide with Ā-movement. But there are places where this correlation comes apart. All that is necessary for the emergence of anti-agreement is the presence of an Ā-feature on a DP that controls φ-agreement.