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Adventures in English Syntax

By Robert Freidin

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Modality Across Syntactic Categories

Edited by Ana Arregui, Maria Luisa Rivero, and Andres Salanova

Modality Across Syntactic Categories "Chapters in the book demonstrate that modality involves many more syntactic categories and levels of syntactic structure than traditionally assumed."



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Dissertation Information


Title: The Preposition in Southern Sotho Add Dissertation
Author: Pascalis Ramone Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Stellenbosch, Department of African Languages
Completed in: 1997
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Sotho, Southern
Director(s): M Visser
J. Du Plessis
J. Gildenhuys

Abstract: The dissertation recognises that there are only a few prepositions in Sesotho i.e. ka, le, ke, ho and sa that are, because of their scarcity, overloaded with varying semantic interpretations and occurrence in a wide range of syntactic environments. The following issues are particularly problematic:

a. The preposition ka has frequently been interpreted in terms of ten to twelve different semantic roles. The issue is explored as to whether the preposition has these meanings or whether the syntactic environment of such phrases must be taken into account.

b. The preposition le is sometimes also considered as a conjunct in coordinated phrases. The issue that relates to the syntactic and semantic differences between the category le as a conjunct and as a preposition is explored.

c. The preposition ke is often interpreted as a copulative phrase. The differences both syntactic and semantic are drawn between ke as a copulative verb, in Sesotho, and as a preposition.

d. The locative preposition ho is in complementary distribution with the locative morpheme -ng. The issue as to whether there is a possible difference between the two elements is examined.

The dissertation addresses these issues within the general framework of Government-Binding theory of Generative Grammar with special emphasis on its sub-theories of Government Theory, X-bar Theory, Theta Theory and Case Theory.

The dissertation is organized into eight chapters. In Chapter I, in addition to the statement of the problem and the hypothesis a review of relevant linguistic literature of the preposition is presented. In Chapter II, the GB-theory is treated. In Chapters III and IV the preposition ka, in Sesotho, is explored syntactically and semantically. The other prepositions le, ke and ho are dealt with in chapters V, VI and VII respectively. Finally, in chapter VIII, findings and conclusions are presented, including the preposition sa.

Each of the preposition, ka, le, ke and ho, is approached from two angles i.e. syntactically and semantically. Syntactically it is demonstrated that each preposition has a variety of complements that may be lexical categories such as NPs, NPLoc, other PPs, CP or other specific elements.

Semantically, each preposition is associated with a number of theta roles that it may bear, for example: the preposition ka is associated with thirteen theta roles: instrument, theme, manner, time, location, quantifier, comparison, cause, source, agent, purpose, accompaniment and ingredient; the preposition le is associated with eight theta roles: association, accompaniment, possession, theme, existence, ability, possibility and permission; preposition ke with theta roles: agent, theme, cause, experiencer and preposition ho with theta roles: location, direction, recipient, source, quantifier and beneficiary while the comparative preposition sa bears only one semantic interpretation i.e. comparison.