High analyticity and Coptic particle syntax: A phase-based approach

TitreHigh analyticity and Coptic particle syntax: A phase-based approach
Publication TypeArticle de revue
Année de publication2011
AuthorsReintges, Chris
JournalThe Linguistic Review

Abstract Coptic {(Ancient} Egyptian, 3rd to 12th c. {CE)} is a language of the isolating/analytic type, with an almost one-to-one correspondence between functional morphemes and words. The present study aims at an exhaustive description and analysis of the language's large and diversified inventory of particle words. Functional or grammatical particles encode code tense, aspect, mood categories on the one hand and register wh-dependencies in a broad range of focus-sensitive constructions on the other hand. The central hypotheses are: (i) functional particles are not acategorial parts of speech, but rather fall into two distinct classes of verb-related and complementizer-related categories, (ii) they are not in any sense structurally deficient heads: they can project a specifier position (when endowed with an {EPP} feature) and they can act as phase heads and (iii) the core syntax of the language is laid down by the positive setting of an analyticity macroparameter {(Huang}, {Sino–Kwa:} Analyticity, parametric theory, and the lexical-functional divide, 2008). High analyticity involves the division of labor between defective verbal categories and morphologically independent tense particles, which agree with but do not attract the main verb.