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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2014, Vol. 45, No. 4, Pages 617-653
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00168)
@ 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Licensing Trouble
Article PDF (553.92 KB)

This article addresses a proposal by Katzir (2011) that licensors are crucially involved in definiteness and gender marking in Danish, Icelandic, and Greek. We identify several morphological patterns in Icelandic and Danish that are predicted to be impossible under Katzir’s theory and argue that these languages do not support the existence of licensors. Instead, we propose an account within the framework of Distributed Morphology, arguing that the patterns of gender and definiteness marking seen in these languages are the result of competition for insertion between well-motivated Vocabulary items. In a sense, then, we argue for a more traditional and theoretically simpler analysis of agreement in the languages.