Strength and Interpretability of Agreement and Tense Features in English and Izọn: A Comparative Study

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Odingowei M. Kwokwo


This paper examines strength and interpretability of Agreement and Tense features in English and Izọn languages within Chomskyan minimalist program which places premium on feature checking. Agreement (Agr) and Tense (T) are abstract functional heads in the clause structure of natural languages which check corresponding Agr and Tense features of nouns and verbs to ensure the convergence of syntactic derivations. The objective of the study is to characterize the strength and interpretability of the morphosyntactic features of Agr and Tense in the process of checking in both English and Izọn. The study derived data from standard and regularly used textbooks in English and from competent native speakers in Izọn. The study reveals that phi-features in both languages are interpretable at both Phonetic Form (PF) or phonological level and Logical Form (LF) or semantic level, but the +N agreement feature of Izọn verbs is interpretable only at LF but is uninterpretable at PF. On the other hand, Tense features of verbs of both languages are strong and interpretable at both LF and PF. Consequently, checking of these morphosyntactic features takes place before Spell-Out but the +N feature of Izọn verbs undergoes Procrastination and is checked after Spell-Out. This study characterizes the interface between functional morphological features and syntactic derivations and contributes to the linguistic discourse of feature checking.

Strength, interpretability, agreement features, tense features, English, Izon

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Kwokwo, O. M. (2020). Strength and Interpretability of Agreement and Tense Features in English and Izọn: A Comparative Study. Asian Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 3(1), 1-10. Retrieved from
Original Research Article


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