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Regular version of the site

Article

Against Upwards Agree

The Linguistic Review. 2021. Vol. 38. No. 1. P. 65-99.

Bjorkman & Zeijlstra (2018) claim that agreement with the absolutive argument in ergative-absolutive languages follows naturally in an Upwards-Agree (UA) system supplemented by the relation of Accessibility if 𝜙-agreement is parasitic on structural case assigned to the absolutive noun phrase either by T or by v. By drawing evidence from two distantly related East Caucasian languages, Mehweb and Avar, this article shows this view to be erroneous while also fine-tuning the consensus view, due to Legate 2008, of the nature of the absolutive case. I then show that the problematic facts are trivially analyzable with standard Agree (Chomsky 2000 et seq.).