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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2012, Vol. 43, No. 2, Pages 255-274
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00085)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On the Relationship of Object Agreement and Accusative Case: Evidence from Amharic
Article PDF (122.98 KB)
Abstract

This article shows that accusative case and object agreement are not closely related in Amharic, a language in which both are morphologically overt. This suggests that it is wrong to generalize Chomsky’s claim that agreement and case are both manifestations of the same Agree relation from subjects to objects across the board. I show that object agreements in Amharic are the true manifestations of Agree (not pronominal clitics), whereas accusative case is assigned independently, to the lower of two nominals in the same domain. The relationship between case and agreement can thus vary parametrically.