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LINGUIST List 24.3838

Tue Oct 01 2013

Diss: Jarai, Syntax, Typology: Jensen: 'The Structure of Jarai Clauses and Noun Phrases'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 30-Sep-2013
From: Joshua Jensen < josh.ruthamygmail.com">jjensenuta.edu, josh.ruthamygmail.com>
Subject: The Structure of Jarai Clauses and Noun Phrases
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Institution: University of Texas at Arlington
Program: Department of Linguistics and TESOL
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Joshua Martin Jensen

Dissertation Title: The Structure of Jarai Clauses and Noun Phrases

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
                            Typology

Subject Language(s): Jarai (jra)
Language Family(ies): Austronesian

Dissertation Director:
Joseph Sabbagh
Laurel Stvan
Jason Kandybowicz
Paul Kroeger

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation provides a syntactic account for the Jarai noun phrase
and for the three regions of the Jarai clause: the operator domain, the
inflectional domain, and the theta domain. Within the noun phrase, I argue
that demonstrative-final word order involves phrasal movement of the
demonstrative's complement into Spec,D, where it identifies null definite
D. Jarai classifiers, rather than being heads in the functional spine of
the DP, are shown to form a constituent with numerals, and this
classifier-numeral phrase merges as the specifier of a number (plurality) head.

In the operator domain, three head positions can be identified: a
finiteness head, evident in non-finite complement clauses; a focus head,
whose specifier position is the landing site of focus-movement (which
subsumes wh-movement); and a force head, which in questions is spelled out
as a question particle. In addition to having standard wh-movement (or, as
I argue, focus-movement of wh-phrases) and wh-in-situ, Jarai also has a
pseudocleft strategy for forming wh-questions; variations in the word order
of wh-pseudoclefts arise from different combinations of topic-movement to
Spec,T and focus-movement to Spec,Foc.

In the inflectional domain, I analyze the variable position of negation in
terms of optional Aux-to-T raising. I also put forward two arguments that
surface subjects in Jarai sit in Spec,T at spellout.

In the theta domain, I show that the verb phrase comprises three head
positions: v, sometimes overtly realized by a causative prefix; iAsp, an
inner aspect head position sometimes realized by the telicity-related
particle hĭ; and V, where the verbal root usually merges. Additionally,
Jarai distinguishes between unaccusatives and unergatives, correlating to a
difference between state-denoting roots and manner-denoting roots. Finally,
Jarai has various types of serial verb constructions (SVCs). I examine four
classes of SVCs, focusing on the status of shared arguments. I argue that
SVCs in Jarai involve (i) the merging of a verbal root directly into vCAUSE
, the first verb of the construction, and (ii) the merging of a VP or vP,
containing the second verb, with the higher v. Apparent agent sharing is
mediated by a controlled PRO in the specifier of the lower v. Apparent
theme sharing is merely an interpretive effect of the causal relation
between the two verbs; in fact, the higher verb, because it is a light
verb, does not assign a theme theta role.



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