Argument Licensing and Agreement

ISBN : 9780190256470

Claire Halpert
316 ページ
156 x 235 mm
Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax

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 of structural 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 of the 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 the language, 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 mask many 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 this situation, 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.


1 Introduction
1.1 Bantu exceptionalism: what varies, and why?
1.2 Familiarity in the unfamiliar: insights on syntax and variation
1.3 A note on Zulu
2 A-movement and phi: building blocks of Zulu syntax
2.1 Anatomy of a nominal
2.2 Flexible word order
2.3 Subjects and agreement
2.3.1 Properties of vP-external subjects
2.3.2 Properties of vP-internal subjects
2.3.3 Optionality for subjects
2.4 Raising constructions in Zulu
2.4.1 Raising-to-subject
2.4.2 Raising-to-object
2.5 Beyond subject distribution: adding arguments
2.6 Summary
3 Uncovering argument licensing
3.1 Nominal distribution and case theory in Bantu
3.1.1 The profile of abstract case
3.1.2 Against standard case theory in Bantu
3.2 Augmentless Nominals
3.2.1 The distribution of augmentless nominals
3.3 Augmentless nominal licensing
3.3.1 The vP-internal restriction on augmentless nominals
3.3.2 Augmentless nominals within vP
3.3.3 Summary
3.4 Augmentless nominals and the case for case: a cross-linguistic comparison
3.4.1 Revisiting the question of case in Bantu
3.4.2 Restricting augmentless nominals without case?
3.4.3 Clues from the broader Bantu landscape
3.5 Augmentless nominals as bare negative NPs?
3.5.1 Syntactic licensing of negative indefinites
3.6 Summarizing the case for case
3.A APPENDIX: Augmentless nominal overview
3.A.1 Augmentless nominals at the NP level
3.A.2 DP-level processes
3.A.3 Vocatives
3.A.4 Summary
4 Licensing and vP: evidence from the conjoint/disjoint alternation
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The conjoint/disjoint alternation: basic distribution
4.2.1 The conjoint/disjoint alternation and argument position
4.2.2 The conjoint/disjoint alternation with locatives and adverbs
4.2.3 Diagnostics for vP edge
4.2.4 Against a prosodic account of the conjoint/disjoint alternation
4.2.5 The conjoint/disjoint alternation as a marker of syntactic constituency
4.3 A familiar signature
4.3.1 Asymmetric probe-goal relationships
4.3.2 Interim summary
4.4 The nature of L as a probe
4.4.1 The conjoint/disjoint alternation and clausal complements
4.4.2 The nature of locative and adverb categories
4.4.3 The selectiveness of L
4.4.4 Summary
4.5 Movement and the timing of the derivation
4.5.1 Activity and the lack of optionality
4.6 Investigating L and case: clues from Otjiherero
5 Case morphology in Zulu and beyond
5.1 Case classification
5.2 Structural licensing: recap
5.3 Zulu nominal prefixes and licensing
5.3.1 Classification of oblique prefixes
5.3.2 Structural restrictions on obliques
5.3.3 Case morphology in Zulu
5.3.4 Taking Stock
5.4 The augment and the role of case morphology in Zulu
5.5 Case and agreement interactions
5.5.1 On Agreeableness
5.5.2 Timing of agreement and case
5.5.3 The status of augment-permitting prefixes
5.5.4 Case concord?
5.6 Conclusion
6 Optional agreement and other consequences
6.1 Subject agreement: rule and exceptions
6.1.1 Complex NP subjects
6.1.2 Raised subjects
6.1.3 Tallying the score
6.2 Understanding optional agreement
6.2.1 Clausal agreement
6.2.2 Complex NP subjects
6.2.3 Raised subjects
6.3 EPP insights
6.3.1 Exotic cases of raising: English and Greek
6.4 Conclusion
7 Variation in the syntactic landscape
7.1 Accounting for Zulu
7.2 Morals for theory
7.2.1 Zulu and the organization of the grammar
7.2.2 Some final thoughts: Zulu and the nature of syntactic variation


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.