How Icelanders (sometimes) evade agreement

Posted on February 10, 2016 by



Icelanders agree about many things, like locking up the bankers and eating skyr. However, agreement between verbs and low nominatives poses interesting theoretical questions. Edinburgh syntactician Caroline Heycock will be coming to Manchester to address these at the LEL Research Seminar on Tuesday 16th. Here’s her abstract:

Icelandic is famous among syntacticians for allowing agreement with “low” nominatives (for example, objects that appear with nominative case); in particular much attention has been devoted to understanding why such agreement is possible for number, but not person. In this talk I’ll present joint work with Jutta Hartmann in which we investigate a less-investigated case of low nominative agreement: agreement in copula sentences with two nominative NPs which differ in number and/or person. I’ll present our new data, discuss some of the implications of the variability that we found, and argue that the paradigms we observe rule out some of the available theories of how such “downward” agreement is established.

The talk will be at 4.15 in SG1, as usual.

Featured image: some Icelanders agreeing to cut a whale open.

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Posted in: local events, syntax