Leila Lomashvili, Heidi Harley
Studia Linguistica 65.3: 233-267.
Publication year: 2011

This paper proposes a new analysis of person and number agreement in Georgian, which combines the locality-based syntactic account of Be ́ jar (2000) with the discontinuous bleeding mechanism proposed by Noyer (1997). Following Be ́ jar (2000, 2003); Be ́ jar and Rezac (2003), we argue that phi-feature checking and realization is sensitive both to locality and to markedness of features. Contra these previous approaches, however, we propose that the morphological real- ization of these checking relations is constrained by a morphological template which restricts the number of positions-of-exponence available in the Georgian verb, in the spirit of analyses proposed in Noyer (1997); Carmack (1997); and Hale (2001), and, in a way, by Harris (1981). Our central claim is that the cyclic, phase-dependent nature of Spell-Out interacts with the positions available in the template to produce the complex patterns of blocking observed, without recourse to extrinsic rule-ordering or a presyntactic level of paradigmatic structure (see, e.g. Stewart 2001). This approach easily accounts for the number sensitivity of the first person prefixes, and naturally extends to predict the forms of the inverse paradigm, given certain syntactic assumptions about the location of arguments in the tree structure in the relevant constructions. We also treat the agreement patterns of complex verbs, containing both the verb stem and a dummy auxiliary. We claim that these forms are distinct from the simplex forms in lacking a phase boundary which is present in the simplex forms.