Abstract: The paper aims to answer the question why object–verb agreement is blocked in Hungarian, Tundra Nenets, Selkup, and Nganasan if the object is a first or second person pronoun. Based on Dalrymple & Nikolaeva (2011), it is argued that object–verb agreement serves (or served historically) to mark the secondary topic status of the object. The gaps in object-verb agreement can be derived from the Inverse Agreement Constraint, a formal, semantically unmotivated constraint observed by Comrie (1980) in Chukchee, Koryak and Kamchadal, forbidding object-verb agreement if the object is more ʻanimate’ than the subject: The paper claims that the Inverse Agreement Constraint is a constraint on information structure. What it requires is that a secondary topic be less topical than the primary topic. An object more topical than the primary topic can only figure as a focus. A version of the constraint can also explain why Hungarian first and second person objects have no accusative suffix, and why accusative marking is optional in the case of objects having a first or second person possessor.
Keywords: differential object–V agreement, differential object marking, information structure, secondary topic, Inverse Agreement Constraint
Abstract: In North Sámi, inceptives can be formed with the inceptive verb álgit, with the morphologically bound form -goahtit, or by changing the theme vowel of the base verb. The syntactic properties of these inceptives indicate that -goahtit is an auxiliary, and so is álgit when it takes a verbal complement. These inceptive auxiliaries are located below tense, and also below obligational and permissive modals, conditional mood, negation, and the head encoding progressive aspect, while they are located above causative, passive and frequentative aspect.
The position of inceptive auxiliaries in North Sámi is not in accordance with neither of the two positions for inceptives suggested by Cinque (2006), since on Cinque’s proposal, inceptives that are below modals should also be below the causative and the passive. The North Sámi inceptives álgit and -goahtit are also problematic for Fukuda (2008), since they are located higher that any of the two inceptive positions identified by him. The inceptives involving change of theme vowels could however be associated with Fukuda’s higher inceptive position, since they take VP as their complement.
Notably, álgit can also appear with only nominal dependents, and I argue that it is then the main verb of the clause.
Keywords: Inceptive, North Sámi, nominal complement, auxiliary, main verb
Abstract: This article has two aims. First, it argues against (Manninen, 2003b) who claims that Finnish restrictive relative clauses are derived by Kaynean style head raising. We argue, based on evidence from binding, case assignment, polarity, quantifier scope, anaphors and extraposition that head raising is not a possible strategy tor deriving Finnish restrictive relative clauses. We then argue that Finnish restrictive relative clauses are right-adjoined to the projectional spiné of the hosting DP and that they are derived head-externally. A detailed grammatical mechanism for deriving relatíve clauses in Finnish is proposed in the minimalist framework that takes into account recent observations concerning snowball wh-movement and the structure of Finnish CP. We will also make several comments towards clarifying the grammatical role of the scope-discourse active left periphery and propose an extension to the recent feature inheritance model by Chomsky (2008).
Keywords: Finnish, relative clause, raising analjsis, edge, feature inheritance