Nguni phrase-final focus particles and antisymmetry theory
Vicki Carstens, Jochen Zeller
March 2019

Particles meaning 'only' are phrase-final in the Nguni languages Zulu and Xhosa. We demonstrate that their associations respect a complex clausal topography of focus and, like English only, a surface c-command requirement. That the Nguni particles appear to the right of the associates which they must c-command is a serious challenge for the antisymmetry theory of Kayne 1994. We show that the facts are incompatible with recent LCA-inspired approaches to phrase-final particles in other languages, such as Biberauer et al 2014, Erlewine 2016 among others, in which material comes to precede a particle by raising across it. After weighing the merits of several approaches, we conclude that Nguni 'only' is an adjunct particle, at least some adjuncts are exempt from the LCA (Takano 2003).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004093
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Linguistic Inquiry
keywords: focus, c-command, antisymmetry, lca, particles, only, nguni, zulu, xhosa, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v2 [April 2019]
v1 [July 2018]
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