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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2013, Vol. 44, No. 3, Pages 469-492
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00135)
© 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Person-Number Interaction: Impoverishment and Natural Classes
Article PDF (527.71 KB)

From an analysis of Fula, this article provides straightforward evidence that the hearer feature is binary. The analysis counts on Local Dislocation to handle mixed placement of subject agreement markers. A novel aspect of the analysis is that a natural class made possible by impoverishment defines the environment in which Local Dislocation applies. Impoverishment has mainly been used to capture syncretism in the past, but the present study shows that it has further potential, especially in the area of mixed placement of agreement markers. The impoverishment operation used is motivated by cooccurrence restrictions that arise in the interaction of person features with number features, falling squarely within the research agenda that tries to ground impoverishment in the logical properties of the feature system.