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Hierarchies and Competing Generalizations in Serbo-Croatian Hybrid Agreement

Alex Alsina and Boban Arsenijević


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Within an approach in which agreement relations can target either the syntactic features or the semantic features of the agreement trigger, the goal of this paper is to explain the distribution of these two types of agreement relations in Serbo-Croatian, focusing on the cases in which the agreement trigger is a hybrid noun. Of particular interest are the situations in which a given word class (e.g. relative pronouns or personal pronouns) shows a split between the two types of agreement relations such that some forms of the paradigm present semantic agreement and others present syntactic agreement. We propose that the distribution of the two types of agreement relations is regulated by two generalizations. These generalizations create a conflict in some words, which we propose is resolved through the application of a principle stating that the more oblique a case form is, the likelier the form is to show semantic agreement.

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