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UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 8

Papers in African Linguistics 2

edited by Harold Torrence

Table of Contents

Franz Cozier Wh-Subject/Object Asymmetries in Trinidad Dialectal English Predicate Clefting 1–59
Jason Kandybowicz The Homogeneity of Nupe Verb Doubling Constructions 60–85
Leston Buell Swahili Amba-Less Relatives without Head Movement 86–106
Masangu Matondo Sukuma Tone: A Preliminary Report 107–130
Pamela Munro Pronominalization in Wolof and Haitian Creole 131–148
Mary Baltazani Case, Tone, and Intonation in Maa 149–163

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Franz Cozier – Wh-Subject/Object Asymmetries in Trinidad Dialectal English Predicate Clefting

This paper examines the properties of a grammatical construct called a predicate cleft (PC), which occurs in a regional dialect of English, Trinidad Dialectal English (TDE). As the name suggests, TDE is spoken on the Eastern Caribbean island of Trinidad. The examination of the PC in TDE is of typological interest in as much as it resembles similar constructions in certain West African languages. A PC renders focus or contrastive focus to a verb in a given sentence by copying the verb and pre-posing it. These two notions of focus and contrastive focus will be explained and further developed. Similar verb focusing constructions have been observed for many West African languages, including Vata and Nweh, as well as for Caribbean Creoles (Koopman 1984, Piou 1982). The PC in TDE is also of theoretical interest when combined with wh-question formation; it provides interesting support for successive cyclic movement including movement of wh-phrases to an intermediate position between VP and Tense that is comparable to a VP-adjoined position la Chomsky (1986). Additionally, the co-occurrence of certain wh-phrases with the PC in TDE provides evidence for the idea that the subject or the object of an embedded clause can behave as the object of the main clause of a sentence (cf. Williams 1978). I have also argued here that both a wh-phrase and a verb focused in a PC have focus features that must be checked in a Focus Phrase (FocP). The current investigation enriches the characterization of both predicate clefts and wh-question formation by not only looking at each operation individually but also examining their interaction with one another as well as with adverbs.

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Jason Kandybowicz – The Homogeneity of Nupe Verb Doubling Constructions

In Nupe, three configurations exist which host multiple non-coordinated occurrences of finite verbs within a clause: serial verb constructions, predicate cleft constructions, and emphatic verb doubling constructions. Of these three classes, predicate cleft constructions and emphatic verb doubling constructions are shown to pattern together with respect to various properties. It is argued that these constructions form a syntactic class of verb doubling constructions which excludes the serial verb variety. With respect to this class, it is proposed that both constructions are deeply related through derivation. An alternative theory of the predicate cleft construction is presented, in which such sentences are derived from emphatic verb doubling constructions by focus movement. The paper also explores various syntactic and semantic properties of the emphatic verb doubling construction, a phenomenon which has gone virtually unnoticed in the literature.

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Leston Buell – Swahili Amba-Less Relatives without Head Movement

Recent proposals have assumed that syntactic representations are constrained by some type of Linear Correspondence Axiom (LCA), a version of which first appeared in Kayne (1994). One consequence of this assumption is the elimination of right-adjunction of one overt element onto another in the syntax, which in some cases can force a remnant movement analysis. This paper shows that Swahili amba-less relative clauses, and probably even verb forms in simple matrix clauses, are one such case. Several types of independent evidence are also examined to the effect that these relative and verbal forms are maximal projections rather than complex heads, including the fact that the prosodic subconstituencies observed in the relative forms cannot be obtained by head movement. An analysis is then sketched which relies on remnant movement rather than head movement.

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Masangu Matondo – Sukuma Tone: A Preliminary Report

In Sukuma, a Bantu language spoken in Tanzania, tone has not been experimentally investigated. Its phonetic properties are thus still unknown. Sukuma has been reported to have two types of Low tones and two types of High tones Regarding the Low tone, Sukuma has been shown to have normal Low tone (L) and Extra Low tone (XL). The two types of H tones in the language are Mobile H (MH) and Fixed H (FH). Whether a syllable carries a H tone (Fixed or Mobile) or not is an idiosyncratic property of that syllable. What is known is that the Mobile H is frequent in native words while the Fixed H is frequent in borrowed words. The former also occurs more frequently in verbs than in nominals. As a general objective, the current study thus seeks to provide a phonetic characterization of Sukuma tone. We want to know the phonetic differences between the normal Low and Extra Low tone on one hand and Fixed and Mobile H on the other. Along the same line, the difference between L before Fixed H and L before Mobile H is also investigated. The study also seeks to reveal the phonetic status of the tone bearing units (TBUs) that are left behind after the Mobile H has been displaced one, two or three syllables to the right. This is intended to improve our understanding of the tonal displacement process in Sukuma. The primary goal of this experiment is to give some general ideas as to what might be potentially interesting phonetic aspects of Sukuma tone thereby providing a foundation for further, more detailed experimental studies.

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Pamela Munro – Pronominalization in Wolof and Haitian Creole

Pronominalizaation in the West Atlantic language Wolof has some unusual features. Certain types of "backward pronominalization" that occur in familiar European languages are impossible in Wolof. Just the same pattern is seen in conservative Haitian Creole, although innovative Haitian Creole speakers exhibit the more familiar European pattern, probably due to French influence (Dejean (1980), Carden and Stewart (1990)). These facts suggest the possibility that conservative Haitian Creole pronominalization may reflect West African substrate syntax.

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Mary Baltazani – Case, Tone, and Intonation in Maa

In this paper I present an account for tonal alternations in nouns in Maa, a Nilo-Saharan language, and present evidence suggesting that a H tone linked to a final syllable in some cases is not a lexical tone but a prosodic boundary tone which replaces the `underlying' lexical L tone of the final syllable. Furthermore, I present evidence that the `underlying' lexical L tone of the final syllable is not completely wiped out by the H boundary tone but leaves an unexpected acoustic trace in the signal: although in general syllables with H tone also have high amplitude, the amplitude of the syllable with this underlying L tone is low.

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