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Agreement with complement clauses in Adyghe

RHEMA. 2016. No. 4. P. 83-104.

In my paper, I will analyze a special feature of clausal complements in the Bzhedug
dialect of Adyghe, a polysynthetic language of the West Caucasian family.
While in many languages, clausal complements cannot trigger verbal agreement,
in Adyghe, the matrix verb can bear plural agreement with a clausal complements,
along with the default singular agreement. If there is a coordinate structure
including several clausal complements, the agreement slot they correspond to can
contain a plural marker. However, this is not obligatorily the case. I will discuss
the conditions of this unusual agreement pattern.
I will show that the possibility of agreement depends on at least two syntactic
parameters: namely, the syntactic position of the clausal complement and
the morphological verb form which is used in the complement clause. Non-standard
agreement is also subject to a significant inter-speaker variation. Sometimes
speakers who do not allow agreement with clausal complements admit instead
long distance agreement.
The most unexpected thing is that even if the complement clauses are marked
with a (typically) non-argument suffix, they can control agreement. This points
to the fact that neither the canonical view of the pronominal argument hypothesis,
nor classical approaches to agreement, represented in many works on European
languages is plausible for Adyghe. The data of this language must be accounted
for in a perspective that regards verbal personal markers and verbal arguments
as types of items, which are not isomorphic to each other and which both play role
in the agreement marking.