Webinar 2 : The Anaphor Agreement Effect: An East Caucasian perspective

Date : Monday 11 January - 04:30 PM (Paris time)

Presented by : Pavel Rudnev

Discussant : Léa Nash

Organized by : "Languages, Dialects and Isoglosses of Anatolia, the Caucasus and Iran"(Labex EFL - Inalco - Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Biography :

Pavel Rudnev holds a PhD in theoretical linguistics from the University of Groningen (2015). Currently he is a research fellow and lecturer in linguistics at HSE University in Moscow. His main area of interest is syntactic theory and the interactions between syntax, morphology and semantics. His ongoing research revolves around the interpretation of disjunction under negation crosslinguistically (syntax-semantics interface), agreement and case in East Caucasian languages (morphosyntax), and the syntax-to-phonology mapping in Russian Sign Language.

Slides of the presentation

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Abstract :

The Anaphor Agreement Effect (AAE) is an empirical observation stating that reflexive pronouns tend to fail to trigger non-trivial 𝜑-agreement on the verb (Rizzi 1990, Murugesan 2019, Preminger 2019). Theoretical approaches to anaphora seeking to reduce reflexive binding to agreement postulate an inherent featural deficiency for referentially dependent expressions (Kratzer 2009, Rooryck & Vanden Wyngaerd 2011, Murugesan 2019). If it is not resolved via Agree during the derivation, the resulting structure either spells out trivial/defaul agreement (e.g. Albanian) or cannot be spelled out altogether (e.g. Icelandic). Exceptions to the AAE are handled by tweaking the relative hierarchical positions of the various elements participating in the agreement relationship. This paper aims to show, by adducing evidence from Avar and other East Caucasian languages, that the reductionist approach to the AAE and binding more generally makes incorrect predictions. I also show that the East Caucasian data are fully compatible with the encapsulation approach to the AAE whereby reflexives are viewed as multi-layered pronouns whose interior with valued 𝜑-features is inaccessible to probing by verbal 𝜑-probes (Preminger 2019).

References :

- Kratzer, Angelika. 2009. Making a pronoun: Fake indexicals as windows into the properties of pronouns. Linguistic Inquiry 40(2). 187–237.

- Murugesan, Gurujegan. 2019. Predicting the Anaphor Agreement Effect and its violations. Leipzig University dissertation.

- Preminger, Omer. 2019. The Anaphor Agreement Effect: further evidence against binding-as-agreement. Unpublished ms., University of Maryland at College Park. Version v7, accessed 4th August 2019.

- Rizzi, Luigi. 1990. On the anaphor agreement effect. Rivista di Grammatica Generativa 2. 27–42.

- Rooryck, Johan & Guido Vanden Wyngaerd. 2011. Dissolving binding theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.