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  • ItemOpen Access
    Unagreement is an illusion
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2016-05) Höhn, Georg FK
    This paper proposes an analysis of unagreement, a phenomenon involving an apparent mismatch between a definite third person plural subject and first or second person plural subject agreement observed in various null subject languages (e.g. Spanish, Modern Greek and Bulgarian), but notoriously absent in others (e.g. Italian, European Portuguese). A cross-linguistic correlation between unagreement and the structure of adnominal pronoun constructions suggests that the availability of unagreement depends on whether person and definiteness are hosted by separate heads (in languages like Greek) or bundled on a single head (i.e. pronominal determiners in languages like Italian). Null spell-out of the head hosting person features high in the extended nominal projection of the subject leads to unagreement. The lack of unagreement in languages with pronominal determiners results from the interaction of their syntactic structure with the properties of the vocabulary items realising the head encoding both person and definiteness. The analysis provides a principled explanation for the cross-linguistic distribution of unagreement and suggests a unified framework for deriving unagreement, adnominal pronoun constructions, personal pronouns and pro.