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The grammaticalization of Hakka, Mandarin and Southern Min: the interaction of negatives with modality, aspect, and interrogatives

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The primary topic of this dissertation is the grammaticalization of negation in three Sinitic language varieties: Hakka, Mandarin, and Southern Min. I discuss negative morphemes that are used under different modality or aspect contexts, including ability, volition, necessity, and perfectivity.

The primary topic of this dissertation is the grammaticalization of negation in three Sinitic language varieties: Hakka, Mandarin, and Southern Min. I discuss negative morphemes that are used under different modality or aspect contexts, including ability, volition, necessity, and perfectivity. Not only does this study examine Southern Min affirmative and negative pairs, but it also highlights the grammaticalization of negation and parametric differences in negation among the languages under investigation. This dissertation also covers the reanalysis of negatives into interrogatives. I approach the investigation of Southern Min negation from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives. I analyze corpus data in addition to data collected from fieldwork for the contemporary linguistic data. For my diachronic research of Chinese negation, I use historical texts and etymological dictionaries. Diachronically, many of the negative morphemes originate from full-fledged verbs and undergo an analogous grammaticalization process that consists of multiple stages of reanalysis from V to T (aspect; modality), and then T to C (interrogative; discourse). I explain this reanalysis, which involves head-to-head movement, using generative frameworks that combine a modified cartographic approach and the Minimalist Economy Principles. Synchronic data show that Southern Min affirmative modals are characterized by a certain morphological doubling. These doublings consist of two near synonyms used in sequence, resulting from the loss of features in a verb and a second verb added as a renewal. In the negation paradigm, some negatives project a negative phrase, while the others serve a dual function, occupying a modal/aspect head as well as a negative head. The latter system is gradually shifting to the former. This study uncovers evidence to counter the long-established paradigm, where negation is tied to its independent modality (abilitive, volitional and necessitive) or aspect (perfective and perfect). I observe a mismatch between the use of interrogatives and their modality/aspect and attribute this phenomenon to feature loss during their reanalysis from negatives to interrogatives. Results however show that consistency occurs in the grammaticalization of negation within Southern Min and intra-linguistically among the three Sinitic languages, and that parametric differences are found at the morphological level.

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2012

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Negation particles and historical linguistics: what part of "not" do you not understand?

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ABSTRACT There are many parts of speech and morphological items in a linguistic lexicon that may be optional in order to have a cohesive language with a complete range of expression. Negation is not one of them. Negation appears to

ABSTRACT There are many parts of speech and morphological items in a linguistic lexicon that may be optional in order to have a cohesive language with a complete range of expression. Negation is not one of them. Negation appears to be absolutely essential from a linguistic (and indeed, a psychological) point of view within any human language. Humans need to be able to say in some fashion "No" and to express our not doing things in various ways. During the discussions that appear in this thesis, I expound upon the historical changes that can be seen within three different language branches - North Germanic (with Gothic, Old Saxon, Old Norse, Swedish, and Icelandic), West Germanic (with English), and Celtic (with Welsh) - focusing on negation particles in particular and their position within these languages. I also examine how each of these chosen languages has seen negation shift over time in relation to Jespersen's negation cycle. Finally, I compare and contrast the results I see from these languages, demonstrating that they all three do follow a distinct negation cycle. I also explain how these three negation cycles are chronologically not in sync with one another and obviously all changed at different rates. This appears to be the case even within the different branches of the Germanic family.

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2014

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Verbs of Perception and Evidentiality in Standard Arabic

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This dissertation provides an account of evidentiality of a number of selected verbs of perception in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The verbs are divided into three categories: activity, experiential, and source-based, following Viberg (1983). The data shows that the activity

This dissertation provides an account of evidentiality of a number of selected verbs of perception in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The verbs are divided into three categories: activity, experiential, and source-based, following Viberg (1983). The data shows that the activity P.Vs in MSA are rarely used evidentially whereas the experiential and the source-based ones are commonly used to indicate evidential meaning. It also shows that while the source-based verb is mostly used with an inferred evidential meaning, the evidentiality encoded by the experiential perception verbs is determined by the complementation pattern and the person of the subject (first or third person subject). With the non-finite complement, these verbs indicate a direct evidentiality when having a first person subject, and a reported evidentiality when having a third person subject. With the finite CP complement, they indicate an indirect evidentiality. This corpus-based study also examines the grammaticalization of these verbs when used evidentially. I argue that only the verb ra’aa of the selected experiential verbs is fully grammaticalized, but only when it is in the past tense and followed by a verbal non-finite complement. In this usage, it becomes a light verb. The source-based verb badaa/yabduu when indicating an evidentiality, it is grammaticalized into copulative verb when followed by an adjectival predicate, and modal verb when followed by a finite complement.

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2019

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Grammatical Aspects of Rural Palestinian Arabic

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ABSTRACT

This study explores some grammatical aspects of Rural Palestinian Arabic (RPA), spoken in the vicinity of the city of Tulkarm in the Northwest part of the West Bank, and compares the variety to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Urban Palestinian

ABSTRACT

This study explores some grammatical aspects of Rural Palestinian Arabic (RPA), spoken in the vicinity of the city of Tulkarm in the Northwest part of the West Bank, and compares the variety to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Urban Palestinian Arabic (UPA). The study introduces an overview of the Arabic language and its colloquial dialects and the status of diglossia in the Arab world. Subject-verb agreement in MSA and RPA is also discussed.

The focus of this study is on the pronominal system and negation in both MSA and RPA. It investigates the correlations between dependent subject pronouns and independent pronouns and their phonological and syntactic relationships. I argue that dependent subject pronouns are reduced forms of the independent subject pronoun. The study explains how dependent subject pronouns are formed by deleting the initial syllable, except for the first person singular and the third person masculine plural, which use suppletive forms instead. Dependent object pronouns are also derived from their independent counterparts by the deletion of the second syllable, with the exception of third person plural pronouns, which take the same form as clitics attached to their hosts.

I argue that dependent subject pronouns are agreement affixes used to mark verb argument features, whereas pronominal object and possessive pronouns are clitics attached to their hosts, which can be verbs, nouns, prepositions, and quantifiers. This study investigates other uses of subject pronouns, such as the use of third person pronouns as copulas in both MSA and RPA. Additionally, third person pronouns are used as question pronouns for yes
o questions in RPA.

The dissertation also explores the morphosyntactic properties of sentential negation in RPA in comparison to sentential negation in MSA. The study shows that the negative markers ma: and -iš are used to negate perfective and imperfective verbs, while muš precedes non-verbal predicates, such as adjectives, prepositional phrases (PPs), and participles. The main predicate in the negative phrase does not need the noun phrase (NP) to raise to T if there is no need to merge with the negative element.

Keywords: Standard Arabic, Rural Palestinian Arabic, Urban Palestinian Arabic, independent pronouns, dependent pronouns, pronominal clitics, copula pronouns, negation

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2019

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Auxiliary to T movement: evidence from adverbs

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Throughout generative syntax, verb movement has been discussed and debated to varying degrees. Syntacticians have attempted to describe this unique form of head movement and its constraints cross-linguistically. Pollock’s (1985, 1997) elaborate comparison of French and English verb

Throughout generative syntax, verb movement has been discussed and debated to varying degrees. Syntacticians have attempted to describe this unique form of head movement and its constraints cross-linguistically. Pollock’s (1985, 1997) elaborate comparison of French and English verb movement restrictions has been considered one of the major contributions to the discussion. His analysis has led to the general understanding that auxiliaries are the only variety of verbs in English capable of moving to a higher position in the TP-layer—i.e. the T. In order to prove this claim, Pollock and others (e.g. Roberts 1993, Ernst 2002, Engels 2012, etc.) have examined the placement of other constituents—i.e. adverbs, negation, etc.

In terms of adverb placement, Cinque (1999) assigns a position for each adverb in a rigid hierarchy. Claiming the adverbs are in the specifier position, this syntactic representation follows the rich Cartographic framework. I agree that adverbs are base-generated in the specifiers; however, I argue that such a specific ordering of adverbs is rather difficult to justify. Therefore, I adopt the scope-based approach, which groups adverbs into “zones” throughout the TP-layer.

By analyzing spoken corpus data, this thesis provides empirical evidence of auxiliary verb movement occurring in Modern English. I argue that, despite being considered optional, English speakers move auxiliaries to the T more frequently, which is consistently indicated by the analysis of adverb placement in the TP-layer.

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Date Created
2017