The Optionality of EPP in Dholuo
Seth Cable
August 2010

This paper argues that the relatively free position of subjects in Dholuo (Nilo-Saharan; Kenya, Tanzania) provides remarkably clear evidence that the specifier positions of preverbal functional projections in the language need not be filled. In this sense, the language provides direct evidence for a strong parameterization of the classic EPP (or equivalent conditions), one that allows the existence of languages where no DP need occupy the specifier position of any verbal functional projection at any level of representation. Furthermore, it is shown that the optionality seen in subject raising extends to other movement types of the language, including wh-movement. This suggests a picture where the presence of an ‘EPP-feature’ (Chomsky 2000) on a given functional head is systematically optional in the language. Finally, it is argued that the existence of a limited set of environments where subject raising is obligatory provides support for the theory of Agreement locality put forth by Bobaljik & Wurmbrand (2005).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001091
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: epp, dholuo, post-verbal subjects, subject positions, optional wh-movement, agreement locality, syntax
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