Hamid Ouali, Michigan alum (PhD, 2006) and now associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, will give a colloquium presentation on Friday, November 30 (3 pm), at Wayne State University. Hamid is an expert on syntactic theory, with a special focus on Arabic and Berber languages. We are happy to have Hamid back in the area, even if not back in Ann Arbor. More information about his presentation follows below.


Contact:  Contact Ljiljana Progovac for more information.

When:     Friday, November 30, 3 pm

Where:    5057 Woodward, Room 10302, Wayne State University

Title:       On the validity of the feature inheritance approach to agreement

Agreement theories have evolved over the past thirty years reflecting an evolution in syntactic theory. Within recent Minimalism, Chomsky (2007, 2008, 2012) has argued for a Feature Inheritance (FI) approach to agreement, according to which C (Complementizer) is lexically specified for Agreement features (Phi-features) and T(Tense) inherits these features in the course of the derivation. There is, therefore, a C-T Phi-feature dependency and a correlation between the presence of C in the derivation and subject-verb agreement. Empirical evidence for FI comes from ECM constructions in English (Chomsky 2007, 2008, 2012), C agreement in West Flemish (Carstens 2003, among others), and Anti-Agreement Effect in Berber (Ouali 2008, 2011). Researches such as Haegeman and van Koppen (2012) and Diercks (2011) have recently questioned the validity of FI for failing to predict certain data in West Flemish and some Bantu languages, for example. In this talk I will highlight some additional empirical facts from Arabic and Berber that raise serious challenges for FI. I will argue that despite these seemingly unpredicted facts by FI, we can still maintain this approach. I will detail a specific theoretical proposal and show its empirical and typological consequences.