Interactions of gender and number agreement: Evidence from Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
Zorica Puskar
December 2017

Split hybrid nouns in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian display two sets of interesting properties: they can bear both natural and grammatical gender, and which gender participates in agreement depends on the number of the noun. While in the singular they invariably trigger natural (masculine) agreement, optionality between masculine and (grammatical) feminine obtains in the plural. Such nouns pose two theoretical challenges: (i) Agree must be able to operate on two kinds of gender and (ii)gender must be allowed to interact with number. Previous accounts propose complex mapping between semantic, syntactic and class features, but ultimately cannot derive the obligatoriness of natural agreement in the singular and optionality in the plural in a unified way. I provide a Minimalist analysis of hybrid nouns' agreement, combining the formal tools of feature hierarchies and relativized probing, which derive the obligatoriness of natural gender in the singular, and Cyclic Agree, with different orders of application of Agree operations, which derives the optionality as intervention effects.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002750
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Syntax
keywords: gender, number, class, feature geometry, relativised probing, order of operations, syntax
previous versions: v1 [November 2015]
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