Case conflict in Greek free relatives: Case in syntax and morphology


Spyropoulos, Vassilios. 2011. Case conflict in Greek free relatives: Case in syntax and morphology. In Morphology and its Ιnterfaces, 21-55. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Case matching effects involve situations where a nominal element appears in a case that is not predicted by its syntactic status in its clause, but rather matches the case requirements of an external element. Such constructions pose serious problems for syntactic accounts of case in terms of a syntactic Case feature, because they involve a situation of case conflict/mismatch. In this article, I address the issue of case assignment/realization by examining case attraction phenomena in Greek free relative clauses. In particular, I suggest an analysis that builds on the idea that case categories are not primitives, but rather they can be decomposed in bundles of features and I propose a division of labour between narrow syntax and Morphological Structure as far as case assignment/realization is concerned. Case assignment takes place in narrow syntax as a licensing device (abstract case), but it refers only to those features that are relevant to the distinction between structural and inherent case. The full specification of the case feature bundle takes place in the Morphological Structure as a result of the application of specific case assignment algorithms defined in terms of case domains and hierarchies. At a theoretical level, such a hypothesis has the benefit of incorporating the insights about the role of case determination at Morphological Structure, as well as maintaining the well-established notion of abstract case as a licensing device of narrow syntax.