A Cross-Linguistic Study of the Anti-Agreement Effect
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Recently, more and more cases of apparent (unexpected) lack of subject-verb agreement have come to the attention of linguists, in languages that otherwise display subject-verb agreement. This effect, normally associated with the extraction of the subject, was coined the Anti-Agreement Effect (AAE) in Ouhalla (1993). In this thesis, we have considered data from five Anti-Agreement Effect languages, and from English. These cross-linguistic data exhibit a considerable amount of variety; the only certainty seems to be that AAE languages are pro-drop languages, but this was noted from early on. Also, the data strongly suggest that it has to do with movement as opposed to resumption. We have weighed six proposals to account for these data, but found only one possible explanation of the phenomenon: Baker (2008), who suggests, in short, that there is a parameter determining whether phi-features are deleted in a movement chain along with semantic (scope-defining) features or phonological features or neither. Additionally, it must be assumed that apparent exceptions to this rule involve (covert) resumption, such that agreement is again required. The languages displaying these exceptions, Berber and Kinande in particular, have indeed been shown to exhibit covert resumption of the subject in certain circumstances.