The left Edge of the Clause in Duala
Arsene Cenny Kengne
March 2015

This dissertation studies the left edge of the clause in Dùálá, a Bantu language spoken in the littoral region of Cameroon. The study is driven within the theoretical framework of the Minimalist Program, a theory initiated and developed by Noam Chomsky (1993, 1995, 1998,1999 and 2001) and subsequent works. The main objective of this research is to offer a detailed account of the structural maps of the left edge of the clause in the language. The study takes into consideration the structures of interrogatives, focus constructions, topicalization and relative clauses. The study of interrogatives reveals that Dùálá is an optional wh-in situ language where wh operators are interpreted either in their canonical positions or in preposed positions. In the first case, wh operators are not analyzed as echo questions, but as genuine questions that require true answers. Such constructions exhibit move α at LF and obey the Wh-criterion. In the second case, wh-operators are displaced from their canonical positions in overt syntax. This movement of the wh operator is dictated by the need to satisfy the morphological requirements of the F feature on F0. Yes/No questions are obtained in the language through the intonation and can cooccur with the focus particle ndé. Dùálá also appeals to indirect questions by the use of the lexical complementizer ŋgá “whether”. Alternative questions are derived by the use of the conjunct ŋgá “or” that appears between two phrases or clauses. In the language, the particle (nɔ́) that occurs when an element crosses over the verb has been analyzed differently from previous studies. It is argued here that the particle is neither a marker of evidentiality nor an affixal resumption. The particle occurs as the result of the non valuation of the [uOp] features on T. The particle is therefore base-generated in T where it forms a complex head with the verb. The study of constraints reveals that NP and IP are bounding nodes and that wh-movement obeys subjacency. However, Dùálá is a null subject language and therefore immune to the Comp-trace filter. Focalization is morphologically marked in the language by the focus particle ndé. The discourse-related features in the VP periphery are only for verbs whereas the language resorts to the edge of the clause to mark the other types of foci. The language has a low focus within the vicinity of the verb. The topicalization of arguments shows that the language makes use of Hanging Topic Left Dislocation (HTLD) where the topicalized element is directly merged into Spec-TopP. On the contrary, the topicalization of adjuncts is obtained by the displacement of the topicalized element into Spec-TopP. Relativization is realized by the use of a phonetically realized relative operators. In Dùálá, relative clauses are instantiations of wh-movement. The Matching Analysis is therefore the more reliable approach in the study of relative clauses. The split-CP hypothesis by Rizzi (1997, 2001, 2004b) perfectly accommodates the Dùálá data. Briefly, the study reveals the following configuration for the left edge of the clause in the language: (1) Force ... Mod ...Int ... Top ... Rel/Foc ... or (2) Force...Int...Top ... Rel/Foc ...Mod ...
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003920
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: University of Yaounde 1
keywords: left periphey, bantu, duala, syntax, cameroon, syntax
previous versions: v1 [June 2015]
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