Proceedings of FDSL 10.5, Brno 2014
Gender Impoverishment in Czech, Slavic, and beyond
Abstract Czech adjectivals agree in gender with 1st- or 2nd-person (1/2) subjects, as in other Slavic and Romance languages, even though 1/2 pronouns lack overt gender distinctions in these languages. This paper argues for Nevins’s (2011: 430) suggested analysis of gender agreement with 1/2 subjects as resulting from markedness-driven Impoverishment Nevins & Parrott (2010). Impoverishment must take place after agreement with the gender feature of the pronoun has been established in the syntax. Because gender features are inherently marked, their occurrence on the same terminal node with the marked feature values for 1/2 induces post-syntactic deletion of gender. Not only does a markedness-driven gender Impoverishment analysis give a plausible explanation of gender agreement with 1/2, but the approach can be fruitfully extended to account for possessive pronoun gender agreement patterns in Czech, Slavic, and beyond, thereby raising interesting questions for further cross-linguistic research on the morphosyntax of gender.
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