Number Matching in Binominal Small Clauses

Susana Bejar, Jessica Denniss, Arsalan Kahnemuyipour and Tomohiro Yokoyama
(2019). In Maria Arche, Antonio Fabergas and Rafael Marin (eds.) The Grammar of Copulas Across Languages, Oxford University Press, 90-106.

This chapter examines covariation in number specification in small clauses with two nominals, as exemplified by copular clauses with a nominal predicate (DP1 BE DP2). Number matching between DP1 and DP2 is obligatory in some such structures, but not others. Two questions arising from this are addressed: (A) By what formal mechanism should number matching between the DP1 and DP2 be enforced? (B) What determines whether matching is required or not? Regarding (A) this chapter argues that Agree is not well-suited for modeling this feature-sharing relation and proposes instead that number matching arises as a reflex of feature-valuation at Merge when DP2 has an unvalued number feature [_#]. Regarding (B), it is proposed that the availability of valuation as a reflex of Merge is sensitive to the feature structure of DP2 and is blocked when, for independent reasons, DP2 does not introduce an accessible [_#]. Three such cases are examined.