The interaction/satisfaction distinction is redundant: A reply to Deal (2024) and Oxford (2022)


Two recent papers on variation in agreement, one by Deal (2024) for the person-case constraint (PCC) and one by Oxford (2022) for Algonquian direct/inverse Voice, have argued for a split between interaction and satisfaction conditions in Agree (as first proposed in Deal 2015). I show that a simpler probe representation without such a split can capture the same empirical domain covered in these two papers. The model is based in uF features which can be joined on a probe via logical conjunction or disjunction. Matching any subset of a probe’s uF features triggers copying, while satisfying the overarching logical statement of the probe via match halts the search. Whether “partial match” between a probe and goal results in deactivation of the subset of matched uF features, or whether deactivation of features only occurs in one fell swoop for all features when the full statement of the probe matches with a goal, is proposed to be a matter of parametric variation. This captures effects otherwise attributed to dynamic interaction. When two goals are equidistant to a probe, a Best Match principle decides whether to copy from one or both goals. This renders the distinction between interaction and satisfaction redundant for capturing cross-linguistic variation in patterns of Agree, while preserving other core insights from each account.

Under Review
Christopher M. Hammerly
Christopher M. Hammerly
Assistant Professor of Linguistics

My research interests include syntax and morphology, particularly the interface between our grammatical knowledge and processing abilities.