“Agreeing adpositions in Avar and the directionality of valuation debate.” Linguistic Inquiry 51(4): 829–844.


 download pdf

Given the central spot afforded to unvalued features in current theorizing, the directionality of feature valuation is the subject of a lively debate in the syntactic literature. The traditional conception of upward valuation, whereby the unvalued probe inherits features from a valued goal in its c-command domain (Chomsky 2000, 2001a, Carstens 2013, Preminger 2013), has to compete with downward valuation (Zeijlstra 2012), Hybrid Agree (Bjorkman & Zeijlstra 2018), bidirectional Agree (Baker 2008), amongst others.

The present paper discusses, using data from Avar, a crosslinguistically rare phenomenon of adposition agreement, whereby certain adverbs, postpositions and locative case forms undergo agreement with an absolutive argument. I show that the agreement morphology on agreeing adpositions is a result of agreement rather than concord and explore the consequences of adposition agreement in Avar for upward and downward valuation. I conclude that upward valuation is better equipped to account for the observed patterns than downward valuation, both on empirical and conceptual grounds.

If you like this, or have a question or a comment, then please  share or reply on Twitter, or  email me.

← Not all obligatory control is movement | Writing Archive | Against Upwards Agree →


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.



To receive updates from this site, you can follow me on Twitter at  @pavelrudnev, where I’ll update you if anything is posted.