The distribution of φ-probes in the inflectional structure
Keywords:subject-verb agreement, φ-features, compound tenses, aspectual verbs, auxiliaries, multiple agreement, V-checking, feature percolation, Bantu languages
Subject-verb agreement in φ-features has been treated as a relation between the subject and some functional category in the clausal spine (Infl, Agr, T). I argue that such severing of the Phi-probe from the verb is problematic for agreement patterns in Bantu languages and argue for a tighter connection between them. The crucial argument is the lack of consistent association of functional heads with agreement features, observed e.g. in compound tenses and aspectual-verb constructions in Bantu languages. The number and positions of Phi-probes in clausal structure are derived from the number and size of head-chains containing a verb.
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