I’ve posted a pre-print of a paper of mine that’s set to appear in an edited volume. The paper is titled Taxonomies of case and ontologies of case. It is a theoretical review paper of sorts, and it has several intertwined goals:
- To show what a system of configurational case assignment would look like when formulated in current syntactic terms (rather than the GB terms in which it was originally proposed, e.g. in Marantz’s 1991 paper).
- To show that given (1), the proposal in Baker’s (2015) book, to add case-assignment-under-phi-agreement to a configurational case system, is an empirically vacuous one. Everything it can account for can also be accounted for under a purely configurational system as construed in (1), with no appeal whatsoever to phi-features within the theory of case.
- To argue that the system in (1) is therefore sufficient to account for case, cross-linguistically. It is also necessary, in the sense that theories with no dependent-case component are unable to serve as general theories of case.
- To remind ourselves that one cannot argue against (3) by, e.g., presenting a language in which the-case-pretheoretically-identified-as-‘accusative’ doesn’t conform to the predictions of dependent case. That would only work if descriptive labels like ‘accusative’ were guaranteed to carve out a natural class of grammatical phenomena, but there is no reason to believe that they do.
The paper can be downloaded here.
(Backup link in case lingbuzz is down: here.)