LINGUIST List 27.824

Mon Feb 15 2016

Diss: Fulfulde, Hausa, Ngas, Ling Theories, Syntax: Lengji Nudiya Danjuma: 'Move-α , Top and Pro Within the Minimalist Program'

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 15-Feb-2016
From: Lengji Danjuma <>
Subject: Move-α , Top and Pro Within the Minimalist Program: A Cross-Linguistic Analysis of: Ngas, Hausa and Fulfulde
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Institution: University of Maiduguri-Nigeria
Program: PhD General Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2015

Author: Lengji Nudiya Danjuma

Dissertation Title: Move-α , Top and Pro Within the Minimalist Program: A Cross-Linguistic Analysis of: Ngas, Hausa and Fulfulde

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): Fulfulde, Adamawa (fub)
                            Hausa (hau)
                            Ngas (anc)

Dissertation Director:
Aishatu Iya Ahmed
Mohammed Munkaila

Dissertation Abstract:

Move-alpha (move-α), TOP and PRO are Government and Binding (GB) and Principles and Parameter Theory (PPT) concepts which this research analyses within the Minimalist Program (MP) using the split-CP hypothesis. TOP is a grammatical category and a position that serves as the landing site for move-alpha. PRO is the subject of infinitivals, the subject of Control theory: one of the modules of GB, the theory determines the possible antecedents of PRO. This research is a cross-linguistic analysis, using data from Ngas (Angas) and Hausa both Chadic languages and Fulfulde: an Atlantic-Congo language. The primary source of data collection was interviews along with the use of structured questionnaire. The Ngas informants were speakers of standard Ngas as agreed by the Ngas Language and Translation Board. The informants for Hausa and Fulfulde were native speakers of Kananci (Kano Hausa) and Adamawa Fulfulde, respectively. Our analysis shows that Topic constructions in: Ngas, Hausa and Fulfulde all have a declarative force head of ForceP which is optional and the head of TopP which is null and an abstract topic affix with a Top-specifier feature which requires a topic constituent as its specifier. Focus constructions have a strong overt head feature (Focus Marker FM) which attracts the focus constituents to spec-FocP. FM is optional in Hausa but obligatory in Ngas and Fulfulde. Force head is obligatorily null in Hausa and Fulfulde but optional in Ngas. PRO is the subject of the infinitival clause with an affixal infinitival particle affixed to the verb and a –WH CP marked by a declarative force in Fulfulde. In both Ngas and Hausa, there is an intuited subject which is indicated as PRO and CP is null. Both Ngas and Hausa have an abstract infinitival particle. Theta-role is assigned to PRO indirectly via merger with a V-bar compositionally in Ngas, Hausa, and Fulfulde. The status of move-alpha (move-α) as regards TOP and PRO is that of an operational procedure of Merge, Attract, Agree, Raising and Move (Affix Hopping) in Fulfulde and Merge, Attract, Agree and Raising in Ngas and Hausa. There is a typological asymmetry in the operation of move-alpha (move-α): only in Fulfulde in the analysis of PRO a classical movement operation of move-alpha (move-α) occurs: Affix Hopping applies: -a the infinitival particle is affixed to the verb wam. A typological asymmetry in the operations of Topic and Focus constructions is observed: Topic constructions do not exhibit any occurrence of Topic Markers. Focus constructions exhibit Focus Markers as in Ngas: ɗo; Hausa: ce/ne and Fulfulde: on. Theoretically, the typological asymmetry observed between Chadic and Atlantic-Congo in the operation of the three syntactic elements of move-alpha (move-α ), TOP and PRO confirms the binary selection of syntactic operations in Universal Grammar (UG). Indeed, the Minimalist Program (MP) adequately meets the adequacy conditions of classical Generative Grammar by describing and analyzing the syntactic elements of move-alpha (move-α), TOP and PRO in these three African languages: Ngas, Hausa and Fulfulde.

Page Updated: 15-Feb-2016