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LINGUIST List 18.2356

Tue Aug 07 2007

Diss: Syntax: Bukuru: 'Phrase Structure and Functional Categories i...'

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        1.    Denis Bukuru, Phrase Structure and Functional Categories in the Kirundi Sentence


Message 1: Phrase Structure and Functional Categories in the Kirundi Sentence
Date: 06-Aug-2007
From: Denis Bukuru <denis_bukuruyahoo.com>
Subject: Phrase Structure and Functional Categories in the Kirundi Sentence
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Institution: University of Dar es Salaam
Program: PhD Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Denis Bukuru

Dissertation Title: Phrase Structure and Functional Categories in the Kirundi Sentence

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Rundi (run)

Dissertation Director:
Kulikoyela K. Kahigi
Josephat M. Rugemalira

Dissertation Abstract:

This study tackles the analysis of the Kirundi sentence according to the
concepts of "phrase structure" (PS) and "functional categories" (FCs) as
defined in the Principles and Parameters (P&P) Theory, as developed by
Chomsky (1981, 1986) and his followers (Haegeman 1994, Webelhuth 1995, Cook
and Newson 1996).

The study describes the syntactic behaviour of Kirundi FCs, their
distribution in the Sentence and their functions, as well as their
morphological structure. In so doing the study checks whether the major
claims and hypotheses of the P&P Theory about FCs in general syntax apply
or do not apply to Kirundi syntactic structures.

The study realized two major findings. The first finding is that inflection
(INFL) is not a category of phrase, because it belongs to the word
morphology. This has been referred to as the WORD INTERNAL INFLECTION
HYPOTHESIS (WIIH). WIIH assumes that phrase structure grammar should deal
with fully inflected words. According to this new hypothesis, only FCs
morphologically realised as full words are phrase constituents and may be
heads of phrases, but inflectional FCs cannot. WIIH replaces the Split-INFL
Hypothesis (SIH) and (ii) the Full Functional Projection Hypothesis (FFPH),
which assume that in all languages, all FCs, whatever their morphological
structure, are phrase constituents and heads of phrases. However, in
agglutinative languages like Kirundi and other Bantu languages, SIH and
FFPH may not work, because inflectional FCs fail to be accommodated in
phrase structure. However, it was observed that all full word FCs function
as heads of phrases, this has led to a new hypothesis, namely, the FULL
WORD FUNCTIONAL PROJECTION HYPOTHESIS (FWFPH), which is a compromise
between WIIH and FFPH.

The second major finding of the study is that syntactic structure interacts
with discourse structure. Many Kirundi syntactic structures may not be
interpretable if one ignores discourse functions of Topic and Focus. The
BASIC TOPIC PHRASE STRUCTURE HYPOTHESIS (BTSH) is one of the important
devices suggested in his study to deal with Kirundi phrase structure in
higher sentence nodes. The wider significance or implication of this
finding is that the interpretation of the sentence structure can no more
rely on purely syntactic functions. The involvement of discourse functions
in phrase structure weakens the Autonomous Syntactic Principle (ASP). ASP
denies the role of non-syntactic features/functions in syntactic
descriptions. However, for some Kirundi specific constructions, the key for
their interpretation has been found to be both semantic and discourse
functions.





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