Maithili has a complex agreement system in which subjects, objects, obliques, extra-clausal ‘deictic referents’, and, crucially, possessors within any of these can potentially control agreement in person, gender and respect, also known as honorforicity. Single non-nominative agreement is possible with the possessor internal to the subject of an intransitive verb (typically in the absence of another potential non-subject controller). The same pattern extends to NPs embedded within non-subject phrases in clauses with non-nominative subjects, including the possessor of an adjunct, and the object of a postposition. Agreement with a possessor is also observed through ‘double agreement’ where the primary controller is a nominative subject, and the secondary controller is any non-subject clause-level nominal or, crucially, a possessor of that nominal. Double agreement and agreement with possessors more generally are used when the non-subject controller has sufficient functional prominence. In the case of possessors, this is observed when the possessor is the locus of contrastive focus.
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