Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Agreement with subjects in Lubukusu
by Diercks, Michael J. K., Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2010, 437; 3413827
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines three topics in the morphosyntax of Lubukusu (Bantu, Kenya), all of which are concerned with agreement with subjects: locative inversion, complementizer agreement, and alternative agreement effects in subject extraction. Each topic reports novel Lubukusu data which are both typologically interesting and theoretically relevant within the frameworks of the Minimalist Program and Distributed Morphology. Specifically, each of these topics addresses the question of directionality in probe-goal relations, entertaining the hypothesis that heads may probe ‘upwards’ in a structure (Baker 2008).

The first topic is the morphosyntax of subject extraction, in which it is argued that the Criterial Freezing framework of Rizzi and Shlonsky (2007) accounts for Lubukusu subject/non-subject extraction asymmetries. It is then demonstrated that this approach to subject extraction explains the alternative agreement effects (commonly referred to as anti-agreement effects: AAEs) that appear in Lubukusu and other Bantu languages, capturing facts which are unaccounted for by previous analyses. In the course of this discussion a variety of new data regarding anti-agreement effects in Lubukusu are introduced.

Second, it is demonstrated that there are two distinct locative inversion constructions in Lubukusu (termed disjoint agreement and repeated agreement), which differ in their subject agreement properties and possess different structures. The results add breadth and depth to the reported typology of locative inversion in Bantu languages (Buell 2007, Marten 2006) and other languages (e.g. Culicover and Levine 2001 for English). The discussion of these constructions also addresses at length the nature of locative morphology which appears on verbs in Lubukusu, proposing a locative licensing projection (Location Phrase) to account for these properties.

Finally, Lubukusu has a complementizer which agrees with the matrix subject in an embedding context (e.g. John knows agr-that the boys left). The empirical properties of this agreement relation are reported in depth, and it is proposed that there are two conditions on this construction: the complementizer may only agree with the immediately superordinate subject, and that subject must be an appropriate logophoric antecedent. It is claimed that complementizer agreement is actually triggered locally by a null logophoric operator in the left periphery of the embedded clause, and that the reference of this operator is determined by an obligatory control relationship with the matrix subject. This phenomenon is critically relevant for many current issues within the Minimalist architecture, including theories of agreement, phases, logophoricity, and subjecthood.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zanuttini, Raffaella
Commitee: Baker, Mark, Kramer, Ruth, Portner, Paul
School: Georgetown University
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Linguistics
Keywords: Agreement, Bantu, Kenya, Lubukusu, Morphosyntax, Subject agreement, Syntax
Publication Number: 3413827
ISBN: 9781124152523
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