Verbal Agreement with Collective Noun- Based Constructions: Syntactic and Lexical Implications of of-Dependents
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/481
DOCUMENT TYPE: bookPart
This corpus-based study analyses the number mismatches found in English collective noun-based subjects taking of-complementation (i.e. determiner + collective + of N). The plural of-PPs in these constructions have proved to be a determinant factor of verbal number, as evinced by the overrides of canonical (i.e. singular) agreement with the singular collective noun that they favour. This paper aims at measuring the impact on verbal number of both the morphology of the plural noun in the of-dependents (i.e. overt vs. non-overt plurality as in boys vs. people) and the (syntactic and structural) complexity of the of-PPs (i.e. structural design of of-PPs in terms of constituency and in number of words). The results obtained show a strong correlation between the influence that of-dependents exert on the number of the verb and their complexity, thus attesting that the rate of plural verbal agreement diminishes significantly with increasing (syntactic and structural) complexity.
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