In this article, we propose a phase-based alternative to Kayne’s (1989) analysis of past participle agreement in Italian. This analysis captures the principal facts without making reference to specifier-head agreement. Instead, the possibility of overt past participle agreement is determined by the Phase Impenetrability Condition and is linked to the surface position of the past participle. The analysis has interesting crosslinguistic implications, notably in that it predicts a general asymmetry between subject and object agreement.

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Author notes

We would like to thank Theresa Biberauer, Adam Ledgeway, Andrew Nevins, Marc Richards, and three anonymous LI reviewers for their comments and suggestions.

For all Italian academic purposes, Roberta D'Alessandro is responsible for the first half of the article, and Ian Roberts for the second half.