chapter  4
21 Pages

(Past) Participle Agreement

One of the most inuential developments of recent syntactic theory over the last decade is the articulated and abstract conception of clause structure rst inspired by Pollock’s (1989) article. Functional categories constitute the skeleton upon which clause structure is built up. Although abstract in a certain way, this conception can in fact be seen as very ‘concrete’ as it explicitly translates into syntactic positions features that can be overtly realized in the inectional morphology (or are indirectly signaled by the (xed) position of different classes of adverbs; Cinque 1999). The In node of Chomsky (1981) has been internally analyzed in several distinct syntactic (morpho) heads. Typical labels for these heads directly mirror their morphological feature content: Agr(eement), T(ense), Asp(ect), M(ode), Voice, Fin(itness), for those related to verbal morphology, and Neg(ation), Foc(us), Top(ic), Force for those related to the informational content of the clause (cf. Belletti 1990, Chapter 1 of this volume; Zanuttini 1997; Rizzi 1997, among many others of a quite extensive literature, according to the different aspects treated). A central role is played in the clause structure by Agr nodes and their projections that constitute a kind of bridge between the purely lexical content of verbs and the nominal content of the arguments: They are the reection of nominal features in the verbal morphology (on the role and status of Agreement projections see Belletti 2001a).