Syntactic Conditions on Special Inflection: Evidence from Hausa and Coptic Egyptian

TitreSyntactic Conditions on Special Inflection: Evidence from Hausa and Coptic Egyptian
Publication TypeArticle de revue
Année de publication2015
AuthorsReintges, Chris, and Melanie Green
Issuepart A
Date de publication2015
Type of Articleresearch article
This comparative study examines the morphosyntactic parameters
governing the distribution of special inflection in constituent interrogatives and focus constructions in Hausa and Coptic Egyptian. In theselanguages,relative
’tense-aspect-mood (TAM) markers occur in relativeclauses, constituent interrogatives and declarative focus constructions. However, special inflection is not a clause-typing device but is governed by syntactic conditions, since both languages also have focus/wh-constructionslacking relativeTAMs: both
languages allow in situ and ex situ focus/wh-constructions, but while Hausa
special inflection occurs in ex situ constructions, Coptic special inflection occurs in insitu constructions.A transformational copy theory analysis reduces
the parametric differences between Hausa and Coptic to different pronunciation sites of the displaced focus/wh-phrase: either the top
copy in its displaced position in the specifier of Focus Phrase (FP),
or the lower copy in its thematic position.An additional parameter
reminiscent of the Doubly-filled COMP Filter is set for Hausa to
allow both specifier and head of FP to be spelt out (pronounced)
at once, resulting in the coincidence of fronting and special inflection,
while the same parameter in Coptic is set to prohibit both  the head  and
the specifier of FP spelling out at once, ruling out the coincidence
of special inflection  and fronting.