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Agreement and the internal syntax of Bafut DPs

Pius Ngwa Tamanji, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation analyzes the rich agreement system in Bafut DPs. I argue that we need two structural configurations: Spec-Head and Head-Head to account for DP agreement. The Head-Head relation is needed to check agreement on lexical categories via covert raising of features of adjectives and genitives, in a head-to-head fashion, to the noun in Num0. Features of functional categories (determiners and quantifiers) are checked via movement of NumP to Spec-DP through Spec-QP in the familiar way of Spec-Head agreement. This approach, which extends to Romance and Bantu DPs, extends Chomsky's (1995) proposals for checking Φ-features on arguments in clauses to the checking of non-argument agreement relations in the DP and suggests a way of dealing with a really rich agreement system without resorting to the projection of agreement phrases. The account of agreement follows naturally from the internal syntax of Bafut DPs. I argue that variations in distribution and interpretation of constituents of the DP results from movement to positions that correlate with different interpretations. In the structure, NP is embedded inside four functional projections: FocP, DP, QP and NumP. N-raising to Num0 and subsequent movement of NumP to Spec-QP and Spec-DP yield the unmarked noun-initial word order commonly attested in Bantu. Further raising of functional heads to Foc 0 produce the contrastive focus interpretation when functional heads exceptionally precede the noun. To have a broader picture of DP structure in Bafut, the dissertation also examines the structure of derived nominals. I argue that deverbal nouns and type I negative nominals are formed in the lexicon and inserted into the structure as plain nouns while Poss-ing gerunds and type II negative nominals are syntactically derived from an embedded VP. This account of derived nominals supports both the lexicalist and syntactic views on nominalizations. Although the dissertation does not draw explicit comparisons between DPs and clauses, intuitive parallels between them cannot be ignored. For instance, N0-to-Num0 raising accounts for agreement in DPs just as V0-to-I0 raising accounts for subject-verb agreement in clauses. To the extent that such intuitive parallels can be further documented, we may not need to posit a syntax of DPs distinct from that of clauses.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Tamanji, Pius Ngwa, "Agreement and the internal syntax of Bafut DPs" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9950215.