The Case-agreement System in Subjunctive Complements



Feras Saeed


Work Unit:

Department of English, Unaizah Community College


Vol.4 No.1 (Serial No.4) 2016






Unlike matrix verbs, the verb in subjunctive complements in Standard Arabic lacks tense; nonetheless, it inflects for agreement and mood. The subject of subjunctive verbs is Case-marked accusative if it surfaces in a preverbal position; and nominative if it appears in a postverbal position. In addition, the subjunctive verb shows agreement asymmetry with its subject, depending on the position of the subject. Subjunctive complements appear in tenseless contexts in this language, i.e. control structures, ECM-like structures, and obviative structures. In this paper, I provide a new analysis for subject-verb agreement asymmetry in these complements and account for the different Case markers that appear on their subject. In particular, I argue that feature-specification on the inflectional head T triggers the verbal agreement asymmetry in subjunctive complements. I also argue that formal features and nominative Case in these complements can be valued by a defective probe. Crucially, I argue that the defective probe can establish agreement and assign nominative Case in-situ, without resorting to A-movement, and the subsequent movement of the embedded subject to a preverbal position is triggered by the EPP feature on the Φ-complete T. The corollary of this investigation lends support to the assumption that the Case-agreement system in this language is not contingent on tense.

Key Words:

subjunctive complements, defective probes, agreement, case, Standard Arabic




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