Diagnosing Object Agreement vs. Clitic Doubling: An Inuit Case Study

Michelle Yuan
2019 Linguistic Inquiry  
Much recent literature has focused on whether the verbal agreement morphology cross-referencing objects is true -agreement or clitic doubling. I address this question on the basis of comparative data from related Inuit languages, Inuktitut and Kalaallisut (West Greenlandic), and argue that both possibilities are attested in Inuit. Evidence for this claim comes from diverging syntactic and semantic properties of the object DPs encoded by this cross-referencing morphology. I demonstrate that
more » ... t DPs in Inuktitut display various properties mirroring the behavior of clitic-doubled objects crosslinguistically, while their counterparts in Kalaallisut display none of these properties, indicating genuine -agreement rather than clitic doubling. Crucially, this distinction cannot be detected morphologically, as the relevant crossreferencing morphemes are uniform across Inuit. Therefore, this article cautions against the reliability of canonical morphological diagnostics for (agreement) affixes vs. clitics. Coppe van Urk, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful discussion and comments. This work was partially supported by a SSHRC doctoral fellowship and an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. All errors are mine. Abbreviations: 1PL ‫ס‬ 1st person plural, 1SG ‫ס‬ 1st person singular, 2SG ‫ס‬ 2nd person singular, 3PL ‫ס‬ 3rd person plural, 3SG ‫ס‬ 3rd person singular, ABS ‫ס‬ absolutive case, ACC ‫ס‬ accusative, ADV ‫ס‬ adverb, AGR ‫ס‬ agreement, ALLAT
doi:10.1162/ling_a_00366 fatcat:6oksh6dpxfeifivcip36szcdoa