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Licensing trouble ∗

By Mark Norris, Line Mikkelsen and Jorge Hankamer


This paper addresses a recent proposal by Katzir (2011) for the existence of a new functional category called a LICENSOR. Drawing on data from Danish, Icelandic, and Greek, Katzir argues that incorporating licensors provides an elegant account of otherwise puzzling patterns of definiteness and gender marking in these languages. In this paper, we look beyond the data presented by Katzir, revealing morphological patterns in Icelandic and Danish that are predicted to be impossible under Katzir’s theory. Thus, we contend that these languages do not support the existence of licensors. Instead, we propose an account within the framework of Distributed Morphology, arguing that the patterns of gender and definiteness marking seen in these languages are the result of competition for insertion between well-motivated vocabulary items. In a sense, then, we argue for a more traditional and theoretically simpler analysis of agreement in the languages.

Topics: definiteness marking and concord in Danish and Icelandic DPs in terms of licensors, a new category
Year: 2013
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