Subject-object asymmetries in Persian argument ellipsis and the anti-agreement theory

Yosuke Sato, Simin Karimi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We investigate the distribution of argument ellipsis in Persian in the context of the recent debate concerning the derivation of null arguments. Using sloppy/quantificational interpretations of elided arguments, we show that Persian exhibits subject-object elliptical asymmetries. We develop various arguments against the Verb-Stranding VP-ellipsis analysis of the subject-object asymmetry. We argue instead that the asymmetry in question is captured by the anti-agreement theory (Saito 2007). Our analysis predicts that the logical subject in Persian should be able to permit argument ellipsis when it is not in the position associated with φ-feature agreement. We show that this prediction is indeed borne out in several syntactic constructions whose inanimate plural subjects do not enter into an agreement relation with any functional head such as T. We also briefly explore one significant consequence of our analysis for the proper treatment of the so-called differential object marker –râ and conclude that this marker is the default morphological case in the technical sense of Marantz (1991).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Argument ellipsis
  • LF-copy
  • Sloppy/quantificational interpretation
  • Verb-stranding VP-ellipsis
  • φ-agreement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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