Syntactic conditions on special inflection: evidence from Hausa and Coptic Egyptian

Green, Melanie and Reintges, Chris H (2015) Syntactic conditions on special inflection: evidence from Hausa and Coptic Egyptian. Lingua, 166 (A). pp. 127-154. ISSN 0024-3841

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Abstract

This comparative study examines the morphosyntactic parameters governing the distribution of ‘special inflection’ in constituent interrogatives and focus constructions in Hausa and Coptic Egyptian. In these languages, ‘relative’ tense-aspect-mood (TAM) markers occur in relative clauses, constituent interrogatives and declarative focus constructions. However, special inflection is not a clause-typing device but is governed by syntactic conditions, since both languages also have focus/wh-constructions lacking relative TAMs: both languages allow in situ and ex situ focus/wh-constructions, but while Hausa special inflection occurs in ex situ constructions, Coptic special inflection occurs in in situ constructions. A transformational copy theory analysis reduces the parametric differences between Hausa and Coptic to different pronunciation sites of the displaced focus/wh-phrase: either the ‘top copy’ in its displaced position in the specifier of Focus Phrase (FP), or the ‘lower copy’ in its thematic position. An additional parameter reminiscent of the Doubly-filled Comp Filter is set for Hausa to allow both specifier and head of FP to be spelt out (pronounced) at once, resulting in the coincidence of fronting and special inflection, while the same parameter in Coptic is set to prohibit both the head and the specifier of FP spelling out at once, ruling out the coincidence of special inflection and fronting.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0101 Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0901 Extinct ancient or medieval languages
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania > PL8000 African languages and literature
Depositing User: Melanie Green
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2015 11:16
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2021 12:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23688

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