(Dis)Agree: Movement and Agreement Reconsidered

Pritha Chandra

This dissertation examines Agree, a narrow syntactic, long-distance operation underlying phi-agreement in the grammar. Taking the strong minimalist thesis (cf. Chomsky 2000) as my point of departure, I question Agree on both conceptual and empirical grounds. On the conceptual side, the operation is suspect first for its language-specific character. Second, it also fails to be justified on the grounds of general architectural constraints and legibility requirements. Further, evidences of various long-distance agreement from across languages examined here question the empirical basis for Agree built throughout the previous literature. As far as this is true, I contend that the faculty of language has nothing beyond Merge and Move/Internal Merge, the first being inevitable in any language-like system and the latter necessitated by interface exigencies. My purpose in this dissertation is to show that these two operations suffice to obtain phi-agreement in natural language.