The syntax and morphology of nominal modification in Ògè

  • This dissertation investigates several aspects of nominal modification in Ògè, an understudied language of Benue-congo spoken in Àkókó Northwest in Nigeria. The study focuses on two areas of nominal modification namely, Nominal Attributive Modifiers (NAMs) and the strategies of number marking. The discussion and analysis of NAMs in the language reveal that Ògè belongs to the group of languages which lacks adjectives as a lexical category. NAMs are nominal and they are derived from an existing lexical category namely, verbs. Predicative modifiers and NAMs have forms that are similar to the long and short forms (LF & SF) of adjectives in languages in which adjectives form an open class, for example, Russian, SerBoCroatian (BCS) and German. Based on the Minimalist program, the dissertation reveals that unlike Russian, BCS, and German in which the discrepancies between the two forms of adjectives are related to definiteness (as in the case of BCS) and Agree, the discrepancies in the two forms of modifiers in Ògè are related to the fact that Ògè lacks adjectives and resorts into the nominalization of stative verbs in order to derive attributive forms. Using the analyses of adjuncts according to Truswell (2004) and Zeijlstra (2020), the dissertation proposes that NAMs are adjuncts in a modification structure while they are heads in possessive and genitive constructions. In addition, I propose that NAMs are attributive-only modifiers which modify the NP rather than the DP. The dissertation also investigates the strategies of number marking in Ògè. Unlike languages in which number marking is obligatory in the nominal domain (Hebrew, German, English), nouns in Ògè are not always marked for number. This means that nouns in Ògè have general number. The general number nature of nouns in Ògè is like that of the nouns in modifying plural marking languages namely, Halkomelem, Korean, Yucatec Maya and Yorùbá. However, I argue that unlike the modifying plural marking languages in which the Number Phrase (NumP) is not projected, NumP is projected in the nominal spine of Ògè, claiming that NumP bears an interpretable number feature which values the uninterpretable number feature in D. Argument in support of this comes from the interpretation of the noun in the presence of òtúro (an element which translates to the plural definite interpretation of the noun). I analyze òtúro as a plural determiner which occupies the D-head in the syntax of Ògè. The dissertation argues following Alexiadou (2019) that the locus of the occurrence of the marker of plurality in the nominal spine does not depend on its interpretation as a plural morpheme, rather, the locus of the occurrence of the element that is sensitive to the plural interpretation of the noun depends on other parameters which are definiteness, specificity and animacy.

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Author:Priscilla Lola Adenuga
Referee:Peter Smith, Ọládiípọ̀ Jacob Ajíbóyè
Advisor:Peter Smith
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2021/05/03
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2021/02/17
Release Date:2021/09/21
Page Number:266
Institutes:Neuere Philologien
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 49 Andere Sprachen / 490 Andere Sprachen
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht