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Building Meaning in Context: A Dynamic Approach to Bantu Clause Structure

Building Meaning in Context: A Dynamic Approach to Bantu Clause Structure

Hannah Gibson

ISBN: 978-1-119-53225-5 February 2019 Wiley-Blackwell 176 Pages

 Paperback

$39.95

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Description

Building Meaning in Context: A Dynamic Approach to Bantu Clause Structure uses the tools of the Dynamic Syntax framework to explore morphosyntactic phenomena in a number of Bantu languages.

  • Examines word order alternations, inversion constructions and negation in Bantu, showing the incremental nature of the build-up of meaning in context
  • Highlights cross-linguistic parallels, drawing on data from Japanese, Korean, Romance languages and varieties of Greek
  • Offers a radical new perspective on the nature of human language, showing the centrality of the concepts of underspecification and update which lie at the heart of the DS structure building process
  • An innovative analysis with a broad empirical coverage

1. Introduction 1

1.1 Aims and objectives 1

1.2 Scope of the book 3

2. The Dynamic Syntax framework 5

2.1 Basic assumptions 5

2.2 Language of representation: the Logic of Finite Trees 5

2.3 How trees grow 8

2.4 Computational rules and tree growth 11

     2.4.1 INTRODUCTION 11

     2.4.2 PREDICTION 12

     2.4.3 THINNING 13

     2.4.4 COMPLETION 14

     2.4.5 ANTICIPATION 15

     2.4.6 ELIMINATION 16

     2.4.7 MERGE 17

2.5 Structural underspecification 17

     2.5.1 *ADJUNCTION 18

     2.5.2 LOCAL *ADJUNCTION 19

     2.5.3 LATE *ADJUNCTION 20

     2.5.4 LINK ADJUNCTION 21

     2.5.5 Semantic underspecification 22

2.6 Sample parse of a Swahili sentence 23

2.7 Summary 26

3. A dynamic perspective on Bantu clause structure 27

3.1 Modelling Bantu subject expressions 27

3.2 Modelling Bantu subject markers 29

3.3 Modelling Bantu tense-aspect information 33

3.4 Contribution of the verb stem: structure building and semantics 36

3.5 Modelling objects and object marking in Bantu languages 39

3.6 Sample parse of a Rangi sentence 43

3.7 Summary 46

4. Underspecification and update: Case studies from Bantu 47

4.1 The mechanisms of representation 48

     4.1.1 Structural underspecification 48

     4.1.2 Semantic underspecification 50

4.2 The rebuilding of structure 52

4.3 The underspecificed verb stem 53

4.4 Underspecified temporal distinctions 55

4.5 Underspecification and variant constituent order 60

     4.5.1 Bantu inversion constructions 604.5.2 Bantu passive constructions 64

4.6 Summary 66

5. Modelling negation in Bantu: the dynamics of interpretation 68

5.1 Previous accounts of negation in DS 69

5.2 Negation in Bantu 73

5.3 Modelling negation in Swahili 75

     5.3.1 Sentential negation in Swahili main clauses 75

     5.3.2 Negation in Swahili non-main clause contexts 79

5.4 Modelling negation in Rangi 81

     5.4.1 Rangi main clause negation 81

     5.4.2 Rangi non-main clause negation 82

     5.4.3 The Rangi negative copula 84

5.5 Capturing the historical development of Bantu negation markers 87

5.6 Summary 89

6. Modelling auxiliary placement in Rangi 91

6.1 Bantu auxiliary constructions 91

6.2 Modelling Rangi auxiliary constructions 93

     6.2.1 Modelling the Rangi verb-auxiliary order 100

6.3 Modelling the Rangi auxiliary placement alternation 106

     6.3.1 Content questions 107

     6.3.2 Sentential negation 110

     6.3.3 Relative clauses 113

     6.3.4 Cleft constructions 115

     6.3.5 Subordinate clauses 116

6.4 Summary 117

7. Cross-linguistic parallels: Parsing dynamics beyond Bantu 119

7.1 Constraining underspecification: the Unique Unfixed Node Constraint 119

     7.1.1 Clitic placement in Medieval Spanish and Modern Greek 121

     7.1.2 Cleft constructions and multiple foci in Japanese 123

     7.1.3 Multiple object marking in Bantu 125

     7.1.4 Word order variation in Japanese and Korean 127

7.2 Summary 133

8. Conclusion 135

8.1 Summary 136

8.2 Concluding remarks 136

Index