Ellen Woolford

Professor of Linguistics                                            link to CV                  
Department of Linguistics               
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003 USA   
Email: woolford (at) linguist.umass.edu
Phone: (413) 545-6841 

Current Research Interests: Case and Agreement Theory and Typology

The relative roles of syntax and PF in deriving agreement patterns such as portmanteau agreement, hierarchical agreement, active agreement, person hierarchy effects, and slot competition.

Locality restrictions on case and agreement

Restrictive theoretical accounts of typological generalizations: e.g. why ergative case is limited to transitive clauses in some languages, why languages with object agreement also have subject agreement, why Burzio’s generalization holds.

Papers on Ergative Case:

(in press) Split Ergativity. In Handbook of Ergativity, ed. by Jessica Coon, Diane Massam, and Lisa Travis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
            This paper surveys types of split ergativity, and the widely differing definitions of what counts as split ergativity. It also questions the idea that so-called syntactic ergativity has anything to do with ergative case.

(in press) Mainland Scandinavian Object Shift and the Puzzling Ergative Pattern in Aleut. In Order and Structure in Syntax, edited by Laura Bailey and Michelle Sheehan. Language Science Press: Berlin.
            The surface correlation between ergative subjects and a null argument elsewhere in the clause results from a combination of independently motivated processes including the Mainland Scandinavian type of object shift which targets only pronouns.

2015 Ergativity and Transitivity. Linguistic Inquiry 46(3): 489-531.    (link to 2014 draft: Ergativity and Transitivity)
            Two different notions of transitivity are relevant to ergative case but neither is the ordinary notion of transitive.

2006 Lexical Case, Inherent Case, and Argument Structure. Linguistic Inquiry, Volume 37, Number 1, Winter 2006: 111–130. Copyright 2006 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. link to journal homepage.                 [Abstract]
            Non-structural cases come in two distinct types: lexical and inherent. Inherent cases (ergative and dative) are more predictable than lexically selected cases, and are thus often mistaken for structural cases. Ergative case is assigned to external arguments, inherent dative case is assigned to goals. Lexical case is only assigned to themes/patients.

Portmanteau Agreement:

  2016 Two Types of Portmanteau Agreement. In Advances in OT Syntax and Semantics, ed. by Geraldine Legendre, Michael Putnam, and Erin Zaroukian. Oxford: Oxford University Press.   (link to 2014 manuscript Two Types of Portmanteau Agreement.)
            Portmanteau agreement comes in two distinct types, one formed in syntax, in a multiple agree relation, and one formed at PF.

Active-Stative (Split-S) Agreement:

  2010 Active Stative Agreement in Choctaw and Lakota. ReVel 8: 6-46.

            This  paper replaces two earlier manuscripts:
            2008 Active Stative Agreement in Lakota. Ms. University of Massachusetts
            2008 Is Agreement Really Independent of Case in Choctaw? Ms. U. Mass

The Anaphor Agreement Effect:

  1999 More on the Anaphor-Agreement Effect. Linguistic Inquiry 30: 257-287.

Aspect Splits:

  2013 Aspect Splits and Parasitic Marking. In Linguistic Derivations and Filtering: Minimalism and Optimality Theory. eds. Hans Broekhuis and Ralf Vogel. London: Equinox.

Burzio’s Generalization:

  2003 Burzio's Generalization, Markedness, and Locality Constraints on Nominative Objects. In E. Brandner and H. Zinsmeister eds. New Perspectives on Case Theory, 301-329. Stanford CA: CSLI.

Object Shift and its Effects on Case and Agreement:

  2007 Case Locality: Pure Domains and Object Shift. Lingua 117 (9): 1591-1616. [Abstract]

  2001 Conditions on Object Agreement in Ruwund (Bantu). In E. Benedicto ed. The Umass Volume on Indigenous Languages. University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics 20, 177-201. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

  2000 Object Agreement in Palauan. In I. Paul, V. Phillips and L. Travis, eds. Formal Issues in Austronesian Linguistics, 215-245. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.  (link to earlier  1995 version from UMOP 18)

Integrating MP and OT:

  2013 (coauthored with Hans Broekhuis) Minimalism and Optimality Theory. Cambridge Handbook of Generative Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  2007 Introduction to OT Syntax. Phonological Studies 10: 119-134.

Selected Additional Papers:

  2011 PF Factors in Clitic Series Selection in Tzotzil. In Representing Language: Essays in honor of Judith Aissen. Eds. Rodrigo Gutierrez Bravo, Line Mikkelsen, and Eric Potsdam. Linguistics Research Center, University of California, Santa Cruz. California Digital Library eScholarship Repository.
            (Link to download volume: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0vf4s9tk.)

  2008 Differential Subject Marking at Argument Structure, Syntax, and PF.  In Helen de Hoop and Peter de Swart eds., Differential Subject Marking, pgs. 17-40. Springer.

  2006 Case-Agreement Mismatches. In Cedric Boeckx ed. Agreement Systems, 317-339. John Benjamins.   [Abstract]

  2003 Clitics and Agreement in Competition: Ergative Cross-Referencing Patterns. In A. Carpenter et al, eds, Papers in Optimality Theory II, 421-449. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

  2003 Nominative Objects and Case Locality. In W. Browne et al. eds, Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics 11: 539-568. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications.

  2001 Case Patterns. In G. Legendre, S. Vikner and J. Grimshaw, eds. Optimality Theoretic Syntax,509-543. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  2000 Ergative Agreement Systems. University of Maryland Working Papers in Linguistics 10: 157-191.

  1999 Animacy Hierarchy Effects on Object Agreement. In Paul Kotey, ed. New Dimensions in African Linguistics. Trends in African Linguistics, No. 3, 203-216. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

  1997 Four-Way Case Systems: Ergative, Nominative, Objective and Accusative. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 15: 181-227.
            (Correction: In example (8) on page 187: the dative/allative suffix in Nez Perce should be –px  (not -na).]

  1995 Object Agreement in Palauan: Specificity, Humanness, Economy, and Optimality. In J. Beckman et al. eds. Optimality Theory. University of Massachusetts Working Papers in Linguistics 18, 655-700. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

  1995 Why Passive Can Block Object Marking. In A. Akinlabi, ed. Theoretical Approaches to African Languages. Trends in African Linguistics, No. 1, 199-215. Trenton, NJ : Africa World Press. 

  1993 Symmetric and Asymmetric Passives. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 11: 679-728.
  1991 VP Internal subjects in VSO and non-Configurational languages. Linguistic Inquiry 22: 503-540.

Ling 404 Shughni language page

Web Page Revised February 2017