chapter  3
52 Pages

AGREEMENT AND NULL ARGUMENTS

Recall that, according to the Split-Infl Hypothesis, inflectional heads and, in particular, Tense and Agreement, project independently in the clause structure (see Ch.l). With respect to the properties of the head AGR-S, the assumption is that it bears certain features, referred to as phi-features which include specifications for person, gender and number (Chomsky (1986), (1992)). In the course of syntactic derivation, subjects are assumed to move from their base-generated position (SpecVP) where they are assigned the external theta-role to (Spec, AGR-S), the canonical subject position. In this position the subject enters into a Spec-head agreement relation with the [V+AGR] head which leads to the phi-features being shared by the two elements. The process of Nominative Case assignment is subsumed under the same Spec-Head configuration in the projection of AGR-S.1