Case, agreement and word order : issues in the syntax and acquisition of Taml
Author(s)Sarma, Vaijayanthi M., 1966-
Noam Chomsky and Kenneth L. Hale.
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This dissertation focuses 011 the syntax of Tamil, a Dravidian language. The main issues discussed in the dissertation may be broadly classified into (a) those concerning the TP-external structure and (b) those concerning the TP-external structure. The aim is to provide as complete an account as possible of the syntactic issues under consideration in both adult syntax and developmental syntax. With respect to the TP-internal structure, the case and agreement properties in the syntax of Tamil are indicated in a wide variety of constructions, including finite (nominative and dative subjects, imperatives) and non-finite (verbal participles, infinitivals) sentences, and the theoretical processes necessary for the assignment of case and the determining of verb agreement are established. Evidence is given for the TP-internal positions of the various argument DPs, including diagnostic tests for subjects aid (especially, nominative) objects. Agreement facts and the relations between DPs and V are discussed with special emphasis on nominative object and V agreement and null case PRO and V without agreement. Anaphoric binding is shown to be parasitic on the agreement domain. The discussion is completed with an analysis of the auxiliary system, arguing for head movement of the V and an iterative vP structure. The TP-external structure concerns the re-ordering of phrasal constituents, locally and long-distance. It is shown that Tamil is a configurational language which exhibits longdistance and local extraction to A-bar positions targeting the same sites as independent cletiing and topicalization procedures in the language. Consequently, word order changes are shown to have specific syntactic and semantic consequences. It is also argued that Tamil shows symmetric rightward and leftward extraction procedures. It is established from the analysis of the syntactic structures and natural speech data that developmental syntax approximates adult syntax in all aspects. Children acquiring Taml are shown to make productive and extensive use of case and agreement (including default agreement) forms. Additional evidence to show that the entire range of TP-internal and TP-external processes are in place is drawn from the use of pro, imperatives, non-finite verbs (including verbal participles and infinitivals), reflexives, serial verbs, NP extraction and case-drop phenomena. The syntactic structuring and processes are argued to be identical in both grammars.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, 1999.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 137-146).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Philosophy