LINGUIST List 14.752

Fri Mar 14 2003

Diss: Morphology: Kari "Clitics in Degema..."

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  1. kari, Morphology: Kari "Clitics in Degema..."

Message 1: Morphology: Kari "Clitics in Degema..."

Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 11:48:52 +0000
From: kari <>
Subject: Morphology: Kari "Clitics in Degema..."

Institution: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Program: Graduate School of Area and Culture Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed 
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Ethelbert Kari 

Dissertation Title: 
Clitics in Degema: A Meeting Point of Phonology, Morphology, and Syntax

Linguistic Field: 
Morphology, Language Description, Phonology, Syntax, Typology

Subject Language: Degema

Dissertation Director: Shigeki Kaji

Dissertation Abstract: 

The bulk of work on clitics has been centred on pronominal clitics in
Indo-European and Slavic languages. What we have described in this
work are clitics in Degema, an African language, specifically, a
Niger-Congo language of the Delta Edoid sub-family spoken in

This dissertation provides a detailed description of Degema clitics,
noting that cliticization in Degema brings together different levels
of grammatical description, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, and
semantics, including pragmatics.

Chapters One to Three present background information, aspects of the
Degema grammar that have direct relevance to the study of Degema
clitics, and a review of literature on clitics respectively.

Chapter Four examines the source of Degema clitics against the popular
view that clitics developed from free lexical items or from syntactic
categories that must appear without accent. It is shown that Degema
clitics did not develop from free lexical items or from any syntactic
category but from diachronic affixes at an earlier stage of the

Chapter Five discusses two types of clitics that have featured in the
literature on Degema linguistics. Also discussed is a surface
endoclitic, which provides evidence against the claim that clitic
attachment is always external to affixes. The interaction between
clitics and the categories of tense, aspect and modality is discussed.
It is noted that subject clitics change their forms to reflect the
distinction between past and non-past, and affirmative and negative
sentences. The discussions on Degema clitics and clitic doubling show
that clitic doubling in Degema is not characterized by the presence of
a preposition, as in Romance languages, or by topicality and
specificity, as in Slavic languages, but by anaphoricity and emphasis
and/or familiarity.

The distinctions between inflection and derivation, and
clitic-affix-word are examined in Chapter Six. It is shown that
despite grey areas between inflection and derivation in Degema, both
phenomena are clearly distinguished by syntax and productivity.
Furthermore, it is demonstrated that Degema clitics differ from words.
They also differ from affixes, their common diachronic origin

Chapter Seven shows that Degema (subject) clitics do not copy an
actual constituent but the grammatical features of the subject noun
phrase when it moves from its underlying position in the verb phrase
to the specifier position of agreement phrase--a position that places
it in juxtaposition to the subject clitic to make it possible for the
copying of its features. It is also shown that Degema subject clitics
are placed in second position not by clitic movement but by subject
noun phrase movement--a syntactic operation that places the subject
noun phrase in sentence initial position thus causing the subject
clitic to occupy second position relative to the subject noun phrase.

In Chapter Eight, Degema clitics are examined against Klavan's five
parameters, i.e. Clitic Identity (Parameter 1), Domain of
Cliticization (Parameter 2), Initial/Final (Parameter 3), Before/After
(Parameter 4), and Proclitic/Enclitic (Parameter 5), and found that
these parameters, especially parameters 3 . 5 that appear to follow
from a proper definition and establishment of the domain of
cliticization, predict correctly for Degema.

Finally, it is shown in Chapter Nine that, in addition to
morphological uniformity and identification, the pragmatic factor
relating to given vs. new information also determines whether or not
thematic subjects can be suppressed in Degema.
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