The Distribution of Subject and Object Agreement and Word Order Type
The article examines the distribution and formal realization of Subject and Object agreement markers in different word order types on the basis of a sample of 237 languages. Special attention is paid to the genetic and areal stratification of agreement markers and the impact of these two parameters on the relationship between agreement and word order type emerging from this investigation as opposed to those of previous studies, especially that of Hawkins & Gilligan (1988) and Nichols (1992). The relationship between agreement and word order type is considered in the light of the currently entertained functional explanations for the presence of agreement which are put into question by the high incidence of agreement in V3 languages. The formal realization of the agreement markers (their morphological form and also order relative to each other) in different word order types is investigated relative to the Universal Suffixing Preference, the Head Ordering Principle and the Diachronic Syntax Hypothesis. It is argued that though due to genetic and areal differences in the formal realization of agreement markers, none of the above three hypotheses concerning the relationship between the formal realization of affixal morphemes and word order type provide an adequate account of the cross-linguistic data, the Diachronic Syntax Hypothesis fares better than the other two, particularly in regard to the formal reflexes of object agreement markers. By comparing the results stemming from our sample with those of other samples we seek to draw attention to how areal biases in samples may affect cross-linguistic generalizations. In doing so we hope to highlight the need for developing a sound sampling methodology.
Published online: 01 January 1996
Cited by 13 other publications
No author info given
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