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The Gorwaa Noun : Toward a description of the Gorwaa language

Title data

Harvey, Andrew:
The Gorwaa Noun : Toward a description of the Gorwaa language.
London , 2018
( Doctoral thesis, 2018, SOAS, University of London)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00030267

Abstract in another language

Gorwaa is a South Cushitic language of Tanzania whose nouns are particularly complex. Based on detailed documentation of the language (most of which is openly accessible for consultation in an online archive (Harvey 2017)), this dissertation provides a first description of Gorwaa grammar, with a particular focus on the noun. Additionally, a grammatical analysis of Gorwaa nouns is developed using the Distributed Morphology architecture and Minimalist syntax. This offers a different perspective from the typically functional analyses available for South Cushitic languages thus far. Following a general sketch of Gorwaa grammar, as well as a brief introduction into the theoretical framework, each subsequent chapter of the dissertation focuses on one subpart of the noun and its morphosyntactic characteristics. Composed of several identifiable subparts (e.g. the stem, the suffix, and the linker), each of which in turn presents a rich array of variants, the Gorwaa noun is an ideal entry point for inquiry into Gorwaa as a system, as adequate explanation of nouns in this language touches on all the major modalities of grammar (phonology, morphosyntax, semantics, and pragmatics). Syntactically, the stem is formed of a root, whose characteristics (phonetic, semantic, and categorial) are determined by the larger syntactic structure in which it is found. Distinguished by two broad groups of morphosyntactic characteristics (those which are regular and those which are listed), the suffix is formed of (maximally) three syntactic heads: Cl (classifier), # (quantifier), and n (‘little n’). In order to bear a number value (Sg or Pl), nouns must be classified and quantified. Nouns unvalued for number (‘general’ number) are neither classified nor quantified. The little n head is the site of the paradigm, itself established as a grammatical formative realized as a specific suffix through instructions post-Spellout. Grammatical gender is a diacritic feature, also realized post-Spellout, making Agree a necessarily post-Spellout operation (cf. Bobaljik 2008). The linker is agreement morphology on the syntactic head D. Cases of mismatch between the form taken by the linker and the gender value of n represents the interpretable (semantic) features of the referent of the noun (itself the external argument of n), intervening in agreement relations between D and n. This mechanism is extended to account for adjectival number agreement on nouns of general number.

Further data

Item Type: Doctoral thesis
Keywords: Gorwaa; noun; language documentation and description; morphosyntax
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2022 13:13
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2022 07:20
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/70158