The distribution of φ-probes in the inflectional structure

Asia Pietraszko


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. 


subject-verb agreement; φ-features; compound tenses; aspectual verbs; auxiliaries; multiple agreement; V-checking; feature percolation; Bantu languages

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