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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2008, Vol. 39, No. 4, Pages 615-632
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2008.39.4.615)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On the Nature of the Antiagreement Effect: Evidence from Wh-in-Situ in Ibibio
Article PDF (115.97 KB)

The Ibibio language displays an antiagreement effect (AAE), in which ϕ-feature agreement on the verb is suppressed in subject questions, even when the wh-phrase remains in situ. I discuss why this fact is problematic for existing theories of the AAE. I then suggest that the AAE arises when the deletion process that applies to copies in a movement chain removes the ϕ-features of a copy along with its semantic features. This formulation applies equally well to overt and covert wh-movement. It also generalizes to explain why quantified subjects do not trigger an AAE in Ibibio, whereas subjects in negative clauses do.