UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Syntax Reading Group - Georg Höhn

17 March 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Crosslinguistic variation in quantificational unagreement

Event Information

Open to



Wenkai Tay

Georg Höhn is a lecturer/researcher (Akademischer Rat) at the Linguistics department (Sprachwissenschaftliches Seminar) of the Georg-August University Göttingen.

Title:Crosslinguistic variation in quantificational unagreement

Abstract: Unagreement describes configurations of (apparently) third person noun phrases cross-referenced by non-third person verbal agreement. This is available in some null subject languages like Greek, Spanish or Bulgarian, but not in others like Italian (Ackema & Neeleman 2018; Choi 2014; Höhn 2016). Quantified noun phrases can also occur in unagreement configurations (1).

(1) a. Spanish (Ackema & Neeleman 2013: 317, (52b))
       Algunos pacientes hemos/habéis llamado a la doctora.
       some students have.1PL/2PL called to the.F doctor.F
       "Some (of us/you) patients have called the doctor."
    b. Bulgarian
       Njakoi zheni sme rabotili po 24 chasa...
       some women AUX.1PL worked for 24 hours
      "Some (of us) women have worked for 24 hours."
    c. Greek
       Kapjes jinekes exume dhulepsi ja 24 ores...
       some women have.1PL worked for 24 hours
       "Some (of us) women have worked for 24 hours."

I provide evidence that there is crosslinguistic variation between Bulgarian and Greek concerning whether the speaker needs to be included in the nuclear scope set in quantificational unagreement, i.e. whether the speaker needs to have worked for 24 hours to felicitously utter (1bc). Currently, I can only offer some speculation on the proper analysis of this contrast.
If time permits, I will also briefly address a second, unrelated dimension of crosslinguistic variation in quantificational unagreement. Greek seems to rule out negative quantifiers and strongly restrict universal distributive quantifiers (kathe "each/every") in quantificational unagreement, while Spanish is more permissive. I offer some thoughts on the possible significance of this pattern for the investigation of unagreement in Romance and Greek varieties of Calabria (southern Italy).

This seminar will take place online via Zoom. To join the seminar, please use this link:https://ucl.zoom.us/j/94126367063?pwd=YWpDeHpOd2l1cXA0NUlTWjZYU3owdz09
Meeting ID: 941 2636 7063
Passcode: 707313

About the Speaker

Georg Höhn

at Georg-August University Göttingen