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Syntax Interface Lectures Utrecht


12 December 2019
16:00 - 17:00
Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)

András Bárány (Universiteit Leiden)

Universals and typological gaps in subject and object agreement

Like (in)transitive constructions, ditransitive constructions can be characterised in terms of their case-marking and agreement alignment. In English, for example, the prepositional dative construction “I gave a book to Mary” and the double object construction “I gave Mary a book” can be characterised as showing direct object alignment and primary object alignment respectively. Languages where the verb can agree with one of its objects show different alignment types in agreement based on whether the verb agrees with its recipient or its theme.

In this talk, I present the background and early results of my current research project into the possible alignment types in ditransitive constructions in the languages of the world. I argue that one logically possible combination of case and agreement alignment is not attested in any language and I provide a morphosyntactic explanation for its absence. I further argue that there is an analogous gap in (in)transitive alignment types.