Agreeing possessors and the theory of case Cover Image

Agreeing possessors and the theory of case
Agreeing possessors and the theory of case

Author(s): Ion Giurgea
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: agreeing possessors; case theory; structural case; concord; genitive case

Summary/Abstract: I argue that the so-called “possessive adjectives” are not really adjectives, but pronouns (D-projections). Agreement features on possessors do not compete with genitive-marking, as it seems at first sight: they never attach directly to DP, but rather to KP (i.e. to a projection of Case), as shown by the obligatory presence of a possessive suffix (which I analyze as K) separating the root from the agreement morpheme. I argue that this explains why the unvalued f-features of the possessor do not agree with the inherent f-features (I show that some agreeing possessors do have inherent f-features): concord applies inside a DP-phase, and given that DP is a phase, the features attached to K above DP belong to the phase of the possessee rather than to the phase of the possessor. Further evidence for this proposal comes from agreeing genitive markers attached at the phrasal level and from agreeing markers attached to a genitive morpheme. I then discuss the implications of this analysis for the theory of structural case: given that agreeing possessors can represent structural case, but their K must be specified as possessive from the beginning of the derivation, structural case cannot be considered to be unvalued case. Moreover, the fact that case concord is often found among agreeing possessors also shows that one and the same K head can have structural case in need of licensing and an unvalued Case feature valued by concord. Finally, I propose an account for agreeing possessors which seem to be doubly marked, both by a case ending or possessive suffix + agreement (at the word level) and by a preposed agreement marker attached at the phrasal level.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 5-37
  • Page Count: 32
  • Language: English