Feature geometry and head-splitting: Evidence from the morphosyntax of the Wolof clausal periphery /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Martinovic, Martina, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (277 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/10773357
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Karlos Arregi Committee members: Lenore A. Grenoble; Jason Merchant.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-05(E), Section: A.
Summary:This thesis is a study of the Wolof clausal periphery, focusing on the morphosyntax of the two layers commonly identified as CP and TP. It has long been noted that C and T are not completely independent of one another, but share a host of properties. The Wolof clausal periphery is highly relevant for the advancement of our understanding of the C-T link, as Wolof clauses contain overt sentence particles---complementizer-like elements argued to encode various information-structural properties of utterances, which interact in various ways with the elements traditionally thought to occupy the TP-layer.
The dissertation is organized in two parts. The first part, consisting of chapters 3-6, shows that most of Wolof clause-types can be reduced to two syntactic structures: one in which a verb raises to C (V-raising), the lexical subject is obligatorily in the left periphery, and the clause-internal subject can only be a pronominal C-oriented clitic. The other clause type, N-raising, contains an A'-moved XP in Spec,CP, the verb does not raise to C, and a clause-internal subject may be a full DP. I argue this difference to be the result of the fact that all features traditionally associated with C and T start out as a single head, which may either remain unified (in V-raising), or be split into two heads (in N-raising). The features on the head in question are internally geometrically organized, and must be checked in a fixed hierarchical order. If a feature cannot be checked, the part of the head which is dominated by this feature's node moves up and reprojects, thus creating new c-command relations. I show how an increased understanding of the syntactic manipulation of elements smaller than the word can elucidate previously puzzling syntactic differences.
The second part of the dissertation (chapters 7-8), still focusing on the Wolof clausal periphery, investigates the interaction of the syntactic and the morphological (post-syntactic) component of the grammar. I make an argument for a much more interactive syntax-morphology interface than is commonly assumed, by allowing for outputs of the post-syntactic component to be fed back into syntax and participate in further operations. Assuming this architecture of the syntactic component, I take a detailed look at the CP-layer of the N-raising clause-type, which exhibits two different A'-extraction effects that surface with two different variants of C: one which shows a type of the that-trace effect, and the other which shows agreement in ϕ-features. These two structures, in the previous literature treated as syntactically distinct, are argued to be identical, and their differences to be a case of allomorphy, brought about through the interaction of syntactic processes, specifically agreement, and a constraint imposed by the post-syntactic module---a version of the Doubly-Filled-COMP Filter grounded in a morphological Obligatory Contour Principle. Illustrating how post-syntactic processes can influence the surface form of the CP-layer, I provide a unified syntactic analysis for two constructions in Wolof which, apart from the surface shape of C and its specifier, do not exhibit any syntactic or semantic differences.
The main contribution of the dissertation is a demonstration of how a more refined view of both syntactic elements smaller than the word (i.e. features) and of morphology and its interaction with better understood syntactic processes offers a new way of approaching surface variation in the syntactic component. One of the conclusions of this approach is that discourse features, such as focus, are not needed to account for the apparently diverse Wolof clause typology, but that their surface properties can to a large extent be explained as a result of the interaction of two modules of the grammar: the syntactic one, with its independently motivated processes such as agreement and movement, and the morphological one, operating post-syntactically and modifying the final output of syntax via its own set of principles and constraints. I ultimately show that syntax is cross-linguistically very uniform, even if we look at a strongly discourse-configurational language such as Wolof.