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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2019, Vol. 50, No. 3, Pages 527-569
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00319)
© 2019 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Checking Up on (ϕ-)Agree
Article PDF (613.91 KB)
Abstract
We argue for a uniformly upward-probing implementation of Agree (Upward Agree, UA), showing that it can account for a wide range of long-distance agreement phenomena, including cases that have been cited as evidence against earlier UA models of ϕ-agreement. Our core revision to earlier UA approaches is a distinction between checking and valuation: while we maintain that checking is strictly regulated by UA, we propose that valuation depends on a secondary relation of accessibility, which allows valuation of a higher probe by a lower, accessible goal, in cases where the checker of the probe cannot (fully) value it. This model provides a better account of asymmetries between Spec-head agreement and long-distance agreement patterns, and also accounts for movement-agreement interactions without a need for EPP features.