Specification, equation and agreement in copular sentences

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This article presents new data from a number of Germanic languages concerning the agreement patterns found in copular clauses that contain two nominals; 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 crosslinguistic differences in agreement patterns found in the languages considered follow from the copula lexicalizing either Tense or a lower head.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-240
Number of pages31
JournalCanadian Journal of Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
EventNon-Canonical Predication Workshop - London, Canada
Duration: 15 May 200917 May 2009


  • Germanic
  • copula
  • equation
  • specification
  • agreement


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