Subject and topic: evidence from Kenyang

Green, Melanie and Florence, Florence A. E. (2012) Subject and topic: evidence from Kenyang. Transactions of the Philological Society, 110. pp. 1-16.

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Abstract

The Cameroonian language Kenyang provides evidence for the view that subjects evolve from topics, and subject agreement morphemes from pronominal subjects. Kenyang has fully grammaticalised clause-internal subjects, and a pre-verbal subject marker that licenses null subjects, as well as marking aspect. Clause-external topics may be involved in subject-like processes such as reflexivisation or control of a null embedded subject, but only through a chain of reference mediated by a co-referential subject. A comparison of topic and clause-initial contrastive focus enables a full characterisation of topic by revealing systematic structural differences. A broadly minimalist analysis provides a straightforward model of the findings.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Melanie Green
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2012 13:58
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2015 14:23
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22471
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