Phi-Agreement in Past Participle Constructions

Concha Castillo


I argue in this paper that agreeing past participles are merged externally in the derivation in V endorsed with a feature [+resultative], whereas non-agreeing past participles are bound to value a feature [+perfective] against the have-auxiliary. Phi-agreement on the former kind of participle occurs since the meaning [+resultative] denotes a property of the logical object, which happens to merge in the position of sister to V-en. As postulated in standard frameworks, phi-agreement consists in that the V-en form values uninterpretable phi-features against the DP object. In contrast with agreeing past participles, non-agreeing past participles are merged externally in the form of V and they get their –en suffix in v valued against the have-auxiliary once the latter enters the derivation. The meaning or interpretation of this –en suffix is [+perfective] or [+anterior]. No phi-agreement occurs between these V-en forms marked [+perfective] and their logical object (whenever they select for one) since [+perfective] is a property of the event or situation as a whole, and not of the object. It is further suggested that the specific Agree relation that is phi-agreement appears not to be subject to configurations of asymmetric c-command, but to just occur on external Merge of the DP that bears the corresponding valued, interpretable phi-features.


Agreeing past participles vs. non-agreeing past participles; External Merge of V-en vs. internal merge of –en; [+resultative] vs. [+perfective]; S-selection; Asymmetric c-command