Resolution by Case Syncretism in Icelandic Passives
Oddur Snorrason, Jim Wood, Einar Sigurðsson
July 2024

Passivized ditransitives with reflexive indirect objects in Icelandic are subject to speaker variation: speakers either reject the construction entirely (Grammar D), accept it with nominative (Grammar A) or accusative (Grammar B), or accept it only when the noun happens to be syncretic between the two (Grammar C). In this talk, we propose that the structural problem is that the DP gets only a subset of its case features valued, and remains unvalued for the distinction between nominative and accusative. The case we focus on most is Grammar C, which is reminiscent of “Rescue by Syncretism” effects found in argument-sharing constructions, such as ATB-movement (Citko 2005, Asarina 2013, Bjorkman 2021). In this case, however, there is no argument sharing or source for multiple-case assignment. We propose that the undervaluation results in splitting the feature bundle into two separate feature bundles, one with nominative features and the other with accusative. We refer to this as Individuation, following Soares (2023). We show that this process looks like a certain kind of Fission (the “pre-Vocabulary Insertion” kind), in that the marked/conflicting features are split, and the irrelevant features are copied onto each bundle. The difference is that Fission creates two feature bundles, two loci for Vocabulary Insertion and two slots for separate Vocabulary Items to be realized. The mechanism in this case creates two feature bundles, two loci for Vocabulary Insertion, but only one slot for a single Vocabulary Item to be realized. We explore how this could be accounted for in the system of Vocabulary Insertion being developed by Soares (in progress).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/008245
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of the Fifty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society
keywords: passives, reflexive ditransitives, reflexives, ditransitives, icelandic, case, syncretism, reflexive appl, impoverishment, fission, linearization, agree-copy, cross-modular structural parallelism, agree, individuation, vocabulary insertion, morphology, syntax
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