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Article

Agreement with overt and null arguments in Ingush

Linguistics. 2018. Vol. 56. No. 4. P. 845-863.

Ingush (Nakh-Daghestanian, Caucasus) offers a variety of contexts with contrast, variation, or speaker choice between agreement and non-agreement and between overt and null arguments, which provide speakers many opportunities to manipulate agreement and argument marking. Ingush discourse is therefore a good test case for the plausible hypothesis that agreement and overt arguments are in complementary distribution. I survey referential density in a corpus of about 5000 words and find no evidence of either straightforward complementarity or expected incidental effects of such complementarity, and some evidence going against it. Some additional, orthogonal distributions were evident, showing that the corpus is large enough to reveal discourse effects if they were present. Ingush agreement is in gender, not person, and there is an arbitrary and strictly lexical bifurcation of verbs into those that do and those that do not have gender agreement; these typological points raise comparative and theoretical issues of interest.