Argument Licensing and Agreement

Paperback | November 9, 2015

byClaire Halpert

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The strikingly unrestricted syntactic distribution of nouns in many Bantu languages often leads to proposals that syntactic case does not play an active role in the grammar of Bantu. This book offers a different conclusion that the basis of Zulu that Bantu languages have not only a system ofstructural case, but also a complex system of morphological case that is comparable to systems found in languages like Icelandic. By comparing the system of argument licensing found in Zulu to those found in more familiar languages, Halpert introduces a number of insights onto the organization ofthe grammar.First, while this book argues in favor of a case-licensing analysis of Zulu, it locates the positions where case is assigned lower in the clause than what is found in nominative-accusative languages. In addition, Zulu shows evidence that case and agreement are two distinct operations in thelanguage, located on different heads and operating independently of each other. Despite these unfamiliarities, there is evidence that the timing relationships between operations mirror those found in other languages. Second, this book proposes a novel type of morphological case that serves to maskmany structural licensing effects in Zulu; the effects of this case are unfamiliar, Halpert argues that its existence is expected given the current typological picture of case. Finally, this book explores the consequences of case and agreement as dissociated operations, showing that given thissituation, other unusual properties of Bantu languages, such as hyper-raising, are a natural result. This exploration yields the conclusion that some of the more unusual properties of Bantu languages in fact result from small amounts of variation to deeply familiar syntactic principles such as case,agreement, and the EPP.

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The strikingly unrestricted syntactic distribution of nouns in many Bantu languages often leads to proposals that syntactic case does not play an active role in the grammar of Bantu. This book offers a different conclusion that the basis of Zulu that Bantu languages have not only a system ofstructural case, but also a complex system of...

Claire Halpert is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she joined the faculty after receiving her PhD from MIT in 2012. Her work focuses on the syntax and morphology of case and agreement, pursued from the perspective of the Bantu language family.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.91 inPublished:November 9, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190256486

ISBN - 13:9780190256487

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. Introduction1.1 Bantu exceptionalism: what varies, and why?1.2 Familiarity in the unfamiliar: insights on syntax and variation1.3 A note on Zulu2. A-movement and phi: building blocks of Zulu syntax2.1 Anatomy of a nominal2.2 Flexible word order2.3 Subjects and agreement2.3.1 Properties of vP-external subjects2.3.2 Properties of vP-internal subjects2.3.3 Optionality for subjects2.4 Raising constructions in Zulu2.4.1 Raising-to-subject2.4.1 Raising-to-subject2.5 Beyond subject distribution: adding arguments2.6 Summary3. Uncovering argument licensing3.1 Nominal distribution and case theory in Bantu3.1.1 The profile of abstract case3.1.2 Against standard case theory in Bantu3.2 Augmentless Nominals3.2.1 The distribution of augmentless nominals3.3 Augmentless nominal licensing3.3.1 The vP-internal restriction on augmentless nominals3.3.2 Augmentless nominals within vP3.3.3 Summary3.4 Augmentless nominals and the case for case: a cross-linguistic comparison3.4.1 Revisiting the question of case in Bantu3.4.2 Restricting augmentless nominals without case?3.4.3 Clues from the broader Bantu landscape3.5 Augmentless nominals as bare negative NPs?3.5.1 Syntactic licensing of negative indefinites3.6 Summarizing the case for case3.A APPENDIX: Augmentless nominal overview3.A.1 Augmentless nominals at the NP level3.A.2 DP-level processes3.A.3 Vocatives3.A.4 Summary4. Licensing and vP: evidence from the conjoint/disjoint alternation4.1 Introduction4.2 The conjoint/disjoint alternation: basic distribution4.2.1 The conjoint/disjoint alternation and argument position4.2.2 The conjoint/disjoint alternation with locatives and adverbs4.2.3 Diagnostics for vP edge4.2.4 Against a prosodic account of the conjoint/disjoint alternation4.2.5 The conjoint/disjoint alternation as a marker of syntactic constituency4.3 A familiar signature4.3.1 Asymmetric probe-goal relationships4.3.2 Interim summary4.4 The nature of L as a probe4.4.1 The conjoint/disjoint alternation and clausal complements4.4.2 The nature of locative and adverb categories4.4.3 The selectiveness of L4.4.4 Summary4.5 Movement and the timing of the derivation4.5.1 Activity and the lack of optionality4.6 Investigating L and case: clues from Otjiherero5. Case morphology in Zulu and beyond5.1 Case classification5.2 Structural licensing: recap5.3 Zulu nominal prefixes and licensing5.3.1 Classification of oblique prefixes5.3.2 Structural restrictions on obliques5.3.3 Case morphology in Zulu5.3.4 Taking Stock5.4 The augment and the role of case morphology in Zulu5.5 Case and agreement interactions5.5.1 On Agreeableness5.5.2 Timing of agreement and case5.5.3 The status of augment-permitting prefixes5.5.4 Case concord?5.6 Conclusion6. Optional agreement and other consequences6.1 Subject agreement: rule and exceptions6.1.1 Complex NP subjects6.1.2 Raised subjects6.1.3 Tallying the score6.2 Understanding optional agreement6.2.1 Clausal agreement6.2.2 Complex NP subjects6.2.3 Raised subjects6.3 EPP insights6.3.1 Exotic cases of raising: English and Greek6.4 Conclusion7. Variation in the syntactic landscape7.1 Accounting for Zulu7.2 Morals for theory7.2.1 Zulu and the organization of the grammar7.2.2 Some final thoughts: Zulu and the nature of syntactic variation