The Structural Determination of Case and Agreement

Linguistic Inquiry 27 (1):1–68 (1996)
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We analyze Case in terms of independent constraints on syntactic structures — namely, the Projection Principle (inherent Case), the ECP (marked structural Case), and the theory of extended projections (the nominative, a Caseless nominal projection). The resulting theory accounts for (1) the government constraint on Case assignment, (2) all major Case systems (accusative, ergative, active, three-way, and split), (3) Case alternations (passive, antipassive, and ECM), and (4) the Case of nominal possessors. Structural Case may correlate with pronominal agreement because the former can, and the latter must, involve antecedent-government by a functional head. However, neither phenomenon implies the other.

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Maria Bittner
Rutgers University, New Brunswick


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