Network Core Mechanisms of Exponence

Ariel, Mira (2000)


Ariel develops an account of the historical development of agreement markers based on Accessibility Theory (1990). She claims that the development of agreement markers from pronouns is not merely the result of phonological reduction, but also driven by the speaker’s desire to use appropriate (reduced) markers to refer to highly accessible/salient discourse referents. The transition from free pronoun to bound agreement marker is attributed to the pressure to develop an appropriate morphological encoding of highly accessible discourse referents. According to Ariel, an independent argument may then be added in contexts involving lower accessibility where the reduced marker is not appropriate anymore, giving rise to new instances of grammatical agreement with the reduced form losing its referential potential. This account predicts that agreement markers should develop initially for 1st and 2nd person arguments since these are always highly accessible as necessary discourse participants. In contrast, 3rd persons are non-participants and therefore not as highly accessible as the speaker and hearer. Accordingly, agreement for 3rd person forms should develop later, if at all. Similarly, the requirement that reduced markers develop only for highly accessible referents hinders the development of object agreement, since objects are inherently less accessible referents than subjects.

authorAriel, Mira
titleThe development of person agreement markers: from pronoun to higher accessibility markers
editorKemmer, S. and Barlow, M.
booktitleUsage-based Models of Language


    author = {Ariel, Mira},
    year = {2000},
    title = {The development of person agreement markers: from pronoun to higher accessibility markers},
    booktitle = {Usage-based Models of Language},
    editor = {Kemmer, S. and  Barlow, M.},
    address = {Stanford},
    publisher = {CSLI},
    pages = {197-261},
last changed: