The Grammar of Repetition
Nupe grammar at the syntax–phonology interface
Jason Kandybowicz | Swarthmore College
Displacement is a fundamental property of grammar. Typically, when an occurrence moves it is pronounced in only one environment. This was previously viewed as a primitive/irreducible property of grammar. Recent work, however, suggests that it follows from principled interactions between the syntactic and phonological components of grammar. As such, the phonetic character of movement chains can be seen as both a reflection of and probe into the syntax-phonology interface. This volume deals with repetition, an atypical outcome of movement operations in which displaced elements are pronounced multiple times. Although cross-linguistically rare, the phenomenon obtains robustly in Nupe, a Benue-Congo language of Nigeria. Repetition raises a tension of the descriptive-explanatory variety. In order to achieve both measures of adequacy, movement theory must be supplemented with an account of the conditions that drive and constrain multiple pronunciation. This book catalogs these conditions, bringing to light a number of undocumented aspects of Nupe grammar.
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, 136] 2008. xiii, 168 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Preface | pp. xi–xii
List of abbreviations | p. xiii
Chapter 1. Overview and orientation | pp. 1–17
Chapter 2. Prefatory remarks on Nupe grammar | pp. 19–45
Chapter 3. Bare root verbal repetition: Repetition via morphophonological conditioning | pp. 47–78
Chapter 4. Predicate cleft: Repetition via parallel chain formation | pp. 79–116
Chapter 5. Lower copy resumption: Repetition via prosodic conditioning | pp. 117–137
Chapter 6. Repetition and beyond | pp. 139–143
Index | pp. 161–168
“In this masterly account of the grammar of repetition Jason Kandybowicz uses descriptively meticulous and theoretically sophisticated analyses of the syntax of Nupe to illuminate our understanding of the nature of language. He has combined original fieldwork with a deep understanding of current Minimalist theory to present us with new data analysed in such a way that they provide real explanations for the phenomena of repetition. Nearly half a century ago I worked on the grammar of Nupe, little dreaming of the advances that could and would be made. Serious scholarship uses the tools of the present to build on the achievements of the past. It is a joy to be part of a tradition which has culminated in the present author providing new insights into the theory of grammar and the human faculty of language.”
Neil Smith, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University College London
“Almost half a century after Neil Smith¹s pioneering grammar of Nupe, Jason Kandybowicz¹s book strikes me as the most detailed, careful and refreshing description of this Niger Congo language. With regard to its theoretical import, the book offers a comprehensive typology of doubling phenomena. Contrary to most current generative work on doubling which assumes a Mophological analysis, this book convincingly shows that doublings have different origins: Morphology, Phonology/Prosody and Syntax. I can certainly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in empirical description and its consequences for theory building.”
Enoch O. Aboh, University of Amsterdam
“One of the most challenging issues facing minimalist syntax is to give a general account of the conditions under which multiple occurrences (created by internal Merge) of a single syntactic constituent are spelled out. Jason Kandybowicz adduces data from Nupe, a Benue-Congo language of Nigeria, to address this issue. In particular, Kandybowicz argues convincingly that syntactic, phonological, morphological and prosodic conditions can force more than one occurrence to be spelled out. Kandybowicz’s study is a paradigmatic example of how the careful analysis of a less studied language (from the point of view of English, Italian, Japanese, etc.) can have clear consequences for the theory of Universal Grammar.”
Chris Collins, New York University
“The copy theory of movement has become one of the most solid pillars of the Minimalist Program as it made it possible to substantially simplify the GB apparatus to describe the architecture of the language faculty. Once traditional traces have been reanalyzed as unpronounced copies under the copy theory, a lively line of research has been devoted to investigating what determines the phonetic realization of copies. Kandybowicz’s insightful study on the pronunciation of multiple copies in Nupe offers illuminating answers to this important issue. By providing a detailed analysis of the syntactic, semantic, morphological, and phonological aspects of three different multiple copy constructions in Nupe, Kandybowicz is able to isolate properties that may enforce the realization of more than one copy. He shows that independent morphological requirements on affixes, phonological restrictions on unsupported tonal material, and restrictions on the mapping between syntactic and prosodic structures interact with general economy conditions, yielding constructions where two links of a given chain must be pronounced. Clearly written, empirically rich, and theoretically persuasive, this book constitutes a must-read contribution to the research on the copy theory and the mapping from syntax to PF.”
Jairo Nunes, Universidade de São Paulo
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Main BIC Subject
CFK: Grammar, syntax
Main BISAC Subject
LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General