Date of Completion


Embargo Period



syntax, morphology, semantics, mass/count distinction, agreement

Major Advisor

Jonathan David Bobaljik

Co-Major Advisor

Susanne Wurmbrand

Associate Advisor

Zeljko Boskovic

Associate Advisor

Jon Gajewski

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


In this dissertation, I investigate the nature of grammatical features and propose that a grammatical feature is split into two halves: one half (uF) that is legible to the morphological component and one half (iF) that is legible to the semantic component. Though these halves in general match up, the values can be distinct or one can be missing altogether. Throughout the dissertation, I investigate various phenomena where the values of the two halves of the feature do not line up, looking at the mass/count distinction, collective nouns in (British) English, and quantified noun phrases in Russian, among others.

I propose that two classes of atypical mass nouns - fake mass nouns in English and plural mass nouns in Telugu - result from there being a mismatch on the number features of the items, which results in the morphology of the noun having either mass or count behavior (depending on the language), whilst the semantics shows the opposite behavior.

I further look at the nature of AGREE. I look at agreement that targets the iF value of a feature instead of the uF, which leads to semantically motivated agreement, and I show that this has a different, more restricted behavior than morphologically motivated agree- ment, operating under different structural configurations. Finally, I discuss the Agreement Hierarchy of Corbett (1979, et seq), where it appears to hold within a single sentence. I will show that when two targets agree with a hybrid controller, the targets can mismatch with one agreeing with the iF and one with the uF. Not all mismatches are allowed, a fact that is explained through the timing of agreement.