This crucially shows that one and the same referent can be associated with either inflectional value, and agreement thus does not track a stable grammatical property of the referent but rather a property that is highly discourse-dependent. Example 4 thus shows that the realization of agreement in spoken languages may depend on pragmatic properties just like the assignment of R-loci to discourse referents cf.
This does, however, not mean that these features do not enter the grammatical system of spoken and sign languages to realize syntactic agreement between the verb and its arguments. They argue that discourse referents are not linked to concrete points in the signing space but to regions that are more or less specific depending on the number of discourse referents. According to their model, R-loci are abstract referential indices that are recursively introduced in discourse by the grammatical system starting with the default pattern that the first discourse referent is linked to the ipsilateral region of the signing space.
Hence, the grammatical system provides a mechanism that introduces necessary delimitations of the regions corresponding to the R-loci in the signing space. Therefore, it is not necessary to list an indefinite number of possible R-loci in the lexicon cf. Schembri et al. They do mention that SLs generally allow for pro-drop, a feature which — according to Corbett — is non-canonical.
This example neatly illustrates that the presence of a non-canonical feature does not necessarily imply that the system as a whole would not pass as agreement.
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After all, many languages that clearly display agreement allow for pro-drop. Four of the criteria refer to the controller of agreement, nine to the agreement target, three to the domain of agreement, three to the features involved in the agreement process, and one to the conditions for agreement. He provides Spanish as an example, as this language displays canonical behavior with respect to 16 out of the 20 criteria.
Taken together, we follow Quer , who concludes that the issue of non- canonicity has been overstated. Note finally, that Schembri et al.
The main problem with this account is that the theoretical decision to analyze agreement within the theory of mental spaces directly leads to the conclusion that agreement cannot be purely grammatical by definition. The movement of the agreement verb is always specified by the R-loci of its arguments. With third person referents not present in discourse, these R-loci are introduced overtly or covertly by grammatical default rules on the horizontal plane of the signing space see above. With first and second person referents and with referents present in the utterance situation, the R-loci are deictically specified by the real locations of the referents.
However, it is not the nature of the referent anaphoric vs. Note that in all cases, it is not necessary to use overt devices such as the pointing sign INDEX to introduce or identify the R-locus of a discourse referent.
Investigations of various SLs have revealed that the possibility to spatially modulate a verb closely interacts with other components of syntax. Third, just as in numerous spoken languages, agreement inflection on the verb licenses null arguments see Lillo-Martin and Bahan et al. Finally, there is the above-mentioned availability of agreement auxiliaries in some SLs.
In addition, it has been shown that gestures facilitate the comprehension of grammatical structures cf. However, there are only very few studies that demonstrate a direct impact of gesture on grammatical structures Jouitteau is one exception. Following Schembri et al.
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However, there seems to be a clear asymmetry in that spoken and sign language affects gesture much more than vice versa. Note finally that even if we assume a probably modality-specific influence of gesture on grammar in SL, we still lack a formal theory that explains the impact of gesture on grammar. By contrast, grammatical accounts of agreement are not faced with this problem since they take agreement to be an integral part of grammar. We thus maintain that the interaction of verb agreement with other parts of grammar poses a challenge to gestural accounts of directionality. Finally, the diachronic development of agreement provides evidence for the grammatical status of agreement for a more detailed discussion, see Section 3.
Since a similar objection holds for the hybrid model of SL agreement, we shall discuss both aspects in more detail in Section 3. As has already been pointed out in Section 2, SL agreement is typologically unusual because, across SLs, only a subgroup of verbs, the so-called agreement verbs, agree with their subject and object, while plain verbs cannot be modified to express agreement.
In an influential paper, Meir suggests that group membership plain vs. According to Meir, agreement verbs consist of three components: i the verb root, ii a directional morpheme, and iii a suffix denoting dative case. As for the first component, the verb root of an agreement verb, Meir assumes that it generally denotes concrete or abstract transfer. The LCS of an agreement verb is given in 6. Second, the directional morpheme DIR indicates the direction of movement of the theme argument. Crucially, it is DIR which realizes agreement with the source and goal argument and not the verb root itself.
DIR is claimed to be a bound morpheme which fuses with the root. There are two DIR-morphemes, one for regular 7a and one for backwards verbs 7b. Note that the two only differ in the assignment of grammatical to thematic functions. Finally, the verb also assigns dative case to the affected possessor i. Plain verbs cannot agree either because they do not express transfer i. In our alternative proposal, to be developed in Section 4 below, we maintain that phonological factors play a role in SL agreement.
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However, given a number of empirical and conceptual challenges that will be addressed in the next subsection, we argue against accounts which seek to explain SL agreement in terms of LCS, i. As mentioned above, Meir assumes that agreement is fundamentally linked to the notion of transfer. Her analysis relies on the assumption that agreement verbs generally have the LCS in 6 and, vice versa, that verbs that have the LCS in 6 should agree by means of movement.
This generalization, however, is too strong. Meir is aware of this fact, of course, and suggests that such verbs e. Still, we maintain that with certain verbs, the notion of transfer is far less obvious, e. Meir , fn. As a consequence, unification with DIR is ruled out. This, however, seems to imply that goal and source remain unspecified in the LCS of these verbs; as a consequence, their meaning should be underspecified, contrary to fact.
Since, according to Meir, agreement by movement is thematic, and since thematic relations associated with particular verbs should be universal, we expect the same verbs to show agreement by movement cross-linguistically. This, however, is not the case.
inordole.ga Again, at least for some of these cases, Meir could probably resort to phonological blocking, but this certainly does not work for the Japanese SL case, where the Western and Eastern variant of LIKE are phonologically identical. Apparently, in both verbs the phonological specification which initially blocked agreement i. Note that the latter verb is particularly interesting because it does not include the semantic notion of transfer. Third, the emergence of agreement auxiliaries provides evidence for the grammatical status of agreement Steinbach Agreement auxiliaries only developed to mark agreement with plain verbs overtly, and they are not restricted to verbs denoting abstract transfer.
As is evident from the LCS in 6 , Meir assumes that verb roots are underspecified for path movement, that is, it is not specified whether path movement proceeds from subject to object or from object to subject Meir Specification of the path movement obtains only through unification with one of the two pre-specified DIRs in 7. The combination of verb root and DIR, however, is faced with a serious conceptual problem. In principle, a root should combine freely with the available DIR-morphemes. In reality, however, for every verb, only one combination is instantiated. In other words, the root of a regular agreement verb never fuses with the DIR-morpheme in 7b , and the root of a backwards verb never fuses with the DIR-morpheme in 7a.
In order to exclude the non-attested combinations, Meir p. This assumption, however, weakens the point of having a separate DIR-morpheme. After all, if there is a lexical specification anyway, then one might as well fully specify the spatial-thematic tier in the LCS of each verb. The conceptual problems addressed above concern fairly general issues which are independent of an individual SL.
Recall from Section 2.
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PAM is a purely functional element void of lexical content. Therefore, it cannot contain a DIR-component. The mere fact that PAM and other agreement auxiliaries exist strongly suggests that agreement in DGS and other SLs involves a syntactic component and casts doubts on the idea that agreement in SLs is fundamentally thematic.
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