Caroline Heycock (University of Edinburgh, and inaugural syntax guru) will speak in Rajesh Bhatt’s seminar tomorrow (Monday, April 28) in the Partee room at 4PM. The title of her talk is “What copular clauses might tell us about agreement (and vice versa).” An abstract follows.
In Andrea Moro's influential 1997 book on copular clauses, the
agreement found in English specificational copular clauses was
contrasted with that in their Italian counterparts:
1. a. The culprit *am/is me.
b. Il colpevole sono/*è io
the culprit am/*is I
Moro attributes this difference to the pro-drop status of Italian, but
den Dikken (1998) already showed that this explanation would not
extend to what appears to be a similar pattern in Dutch and German.
In more recent work (den Dikken 2013) it is argued that obligatory
agreement with the second DP in Dutch in number, but not person,
follows from—among other premisses—the predicate inversion analysis of
specificational copular clauses, given the assumption that predicates
do not have phi-features.
In this talk I will present current work, most of it done in
collaboration with Jutta Hartmann (Tübingen), in which we have begun
to explore the agreement possibilities of these sentences in a number
of different Germanic languages. I will discuss some of the variation
that we have found within Dutch, German, and Faroese, some of which we
attribute to the possibility of an agreement probe in C that is
independent of the probe in T. I will also present evidence that the
agreement facts actually do not support an predicate inversion
analysis—but that at least under one analysis they do support the
involvement of inversion.