Against the universal phasehood of nP: Evidence from the morphosyntax of book titles

David Erschler


Languages vary as to whether DPs used as book titles (such as Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, etc.) can be assigned case and trigger agreement. In languages where they do participate in case and agreement relations, book (and movie) titles form a subsystem with very peculiar properties. I argue that when used as a title, any XP gets embedded in a new nP which projects a DP. Phasehood properties of nPs vary across languages, which leads to the variation in the agreement properties of book titles. However, even in languages that normally require lexical DP titles to trigger agreement and be assigned case, personal pronouns and other functional are exempt from this. I argue that this is related to the fact that participation in case assignment and agreement makes the index and the phi-features of a pronoun visible on the LF thus creating an interpretational conflict.


syntax; distributed morphology; typology; noun phrases; agreement; phases; pronouns

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Copyright (c) 2018 David Erschler

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