“Against Upwards Agree.” The Linguistic Review 38(1): 65–99.


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Bjorkman & Zeijlstra (2019) claim that agreement with the absolutive argument in ergative-absolutive languages follows naturally in an Upwards-Agree system supplemented by the relation of Accessibility if φ-agreement is parasitic on structural case assigned to the absolutive noun phrase either by T° or by v°. By drawing evidence from two distantly related East Caucasian languages—Chirag and Avar—the present article argues that this theory is both too strong and too weak. I then show that the problematical facts are trivially analysable with standard Agree (Chomsky 2000 et seq.).

This is the author’s final version of an article accepted to appear in The Linguistic Review.

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I’m Pavel Rudnev, and this is my personal website. I’m a research fellow and lecturer in linguistics at HSE University in Moscow. My main area of interest is syntax and its interfaces with sound and meaning. In particular, my current research revolves around the structure of nominal expressions, agreement, case and verbal morphosyntax in East Caucasian languages, and the syntax-to-phonology mapping in Russian Sign Language.



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