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LINGUIST List 23.3641

Fri Aug 31 2012

Diss: Goidelic/ Linguistic Theories/ Semantics/ Syntax/ Irish: Oda: 'Issues in the Left Periphery of Modern Irish'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 30-Aug-2012
From: Kenji Oda <kenji.odamail.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Issues in the Left Periphery of Modern Irish
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Institution: University of Toronto
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Kenji Oda

Dissertation Title: Issues in the Left Periphery of Modern Irish

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
                            Semantics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): Irish (gle)
Language Family(ies): Goidelic

Dissertation Director:
James McCloskey
Michela Ippolito
Diane Massam
Elizabeth Cowper
Daphna Heller

Dissertation Abstract:

Although the syntax of the left periphery of the Irish clausal architecture
has been the subject of considerable research within the generative
paradigm, many questions remain unresolved. The general goal of this
thesis is to explore some of these understudied territories. Specifically,
I consider two distinct, but ultimately related phenomena: headless
relative clauses and dependent verbal morphology.


I will make four major claims: The first two concern the syntax (and
semantics) of the headless relative clause. First, despite the fact that
the particles that appear in resumptive relative clauses and in headless
relative clauses are morphophonologically identical as aN, headless
relative clauses are derived by movement, not by means of resumption,
and thus the particles in these two constructions are not the same.
Second, headless relative clauses are amount relative clauses, in the
sense of Carlson (1977); and thus I claim, adopting Grosu and
Landman's (1998) notion of complex degree, that the element that
undergoes A′-movement in a headless relative clause is a complex
degree, causing degree-abstraction in the semantics. The
maximalization operator then applies to the degree-abstracted relative
CP. I argue that it is this operator that triggers the appearance of the
particle aN in the headless relative construction.


The latter two claims concern the morphosyntax of the left periphery of
Irish syntax: First, I claim that there are two tense features in a single
finite clause domain of Irish, and that the so-called dependent forms of
irregular verbs are the surface realization of the two tense features.
This account provides a stepping stone to my final claim that a feature
agreeing with the maximalization operator, but not the operator itself, is
realized in the headless relative particle aN and that the particles found
in resumptive relative clauses and in headless relative clauses are in
fact distinct Vocabulary Items and thus they are homophonous.


This thesis thus fills a gap in the descriptive account of Irish syntax,
and provides new insights to the theory of relativization.



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