Linkers and agreement

Ludovico Franco, M. Rita Manzini, Leonardo M. Savoia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In many languages a linker element is inserted between a noun N and a modifier or a complement of N. We focus on Albanian articles and on Iranian ezafes, and we introduce comparison data from Aromanian. In section 2, we provide arguments as to why currently available formal theories of linkers (as copulas, as case assigners, as means for identity avoidance) face problems when applied to Albanian or Kurdish. In section 3 we argue, on the basis of morphological, syntactic and interpretive evidence, that linkers (at least in the languages considered) form a constituent with the A(P) that follows them and that their category is D. Section 4 contains the theoretical core of the discussion. A linker D and a determiner D have in common the fact that they are both able to satisfy argument slots of a predicative head (e.g. A). However a D closing off a DP is an operator, establishing a relation between a restrictor (the NP) and a domain of quantification (a VP). A linker D is a bound variable - it provides a satisfaction for a theta-role ultimately bound by the higher D. A cross-linguistic typology of determiners, linkers and pronominal clitics based on this analysis is provided. In section 5 we extend the analysis to pre-genitival linkers, treating genitive case as an elementary part-whole relation, of which the linker saturates the external argument (the possessum).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-332
Number of pages56
JournalLinguistic Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • agreement
  • Albanian article
  • genitive
  • Iranian ezafe
  • linkers


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