Grammars of Participle Agreement with Conjoined Subjects in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
This paper shows that Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), like Slovenian, has three distinct strategies for subject-predicate agreement when the subject consists of conjoined noun phrases: (i) agreement with the maximal projection, a Boolean Phrase (&P); (ii) agreement with the conjunct that is closest to the participle; (iii) agreement with the conjunct that is hierarchically the highest. In order to test the initial hypothesis that there are three agreement strategies, a controlled experimental study of the morphosyntactic agreement between conjoined subjects and participles in BCS was conducted, consisting of three experiments: an oral-production experiment, a written-production experiment, and an acceptability-judgment task. The experiments showed a high presence of default agreement and closest-conjunct agreement. Of the preverbal conjoined phrases, 50% elicited default masculine agreement, while 95% of postverbal conjoined noun phrases elicited closest-conjunct agreement. However, the bulk of the analysis was focused on the possibility of treating highest-conjunct agreement (HCA) as a legitimate agreement strategy. The agreement forms in the preverbal-subject (SV) examples showed HCA 7% of the time. Moreover, acceptability-judgment results showed that scores for HCA examples ranged between 2 and 3 (1 = weakly acceptable; 5 = strongly acceptable). Last-conjunct agreement (LCA) for postverbal-subject (VS) examples, on the other hand, occurred only in 1% of the examples in the corpus, and these examples were mostly rated weakly acceptable by native speakers (1.5/5 on average). For this reason, they were classified as performance errors, eliminating LCA as an agreement strategy. The overall results go against Bošković (2009), who does not acknowledge HCA as a legitimate strategy, but they confirm the findings of Marušič, Nevins, and Badecker (2015).
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