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Specification, equation, and agreement in copular sentences


This article presents new data from a number of Germanic languages concerning the agreement patterns found in copular clauses that contain two nominals; in both clauses with specificational readings (such as The problem is your parents) and those with what are here termed readings of assumed identity (such as If I were you or In my dream I was you). It is argued that the specificational sentences involve asymmetric equative structures where one nominal is interpreted as in a concealed question, and that the cross-linguistic differences in agreement patterns found in the languages considered follow from the copula lexicalizing either Tense or a lower head.


Cet article présente de nouvelles données tirées de certaines langues germaniques et qui illustrent les schémas d'accord dans les propositions copulatives avec deux substantifs ; les propositions à lecture spécificationnelle (telles que The problem is your parents) ainsi que celles à «lecture d'identité empruntée» (telle que If I were you ou In my dream I was you). L'article propose que les phrases spécificationnelles comprennent des structures équatives asymétriques où un substantif est interprété exactement comme dans le contexte d'une question furtive, et que les différences interlinguistiques dans les schémas d'accord relevés dans les langues sous considération découlent de la lexicalisation par la copule de la tête tensée T0 ou d'une tête plus basse dans la structure.

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