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Title: On the Syntax of Clause Type Particles: Evidence from Gascon, Innu and Quebec French
Authors: Morin, Annick
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Romance Languages
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Concordia University
Abstract: Various ways of encoding information about whether a clause is declarative, interrogative, exclamative or imperative are found across languages. In this thesis, I am looking at languages that encode clause typing by means of particles. Some languages use particles to express morphosyntactic features that other languages express by inflection. Compare English to love, where the infinitive is marked by the particle to, with French aimer, composed of a root morpheme, aim-, and an inflectional morpheme, -er, marking the infinitive. In 'inflectional' languages like French, the verb root is assumed to move in order to check the features of the inflectional morphemes, whereas in `non-inflectional' languages like English, no movement of the verb is assumed for the purpose of feature checking on a particle. At first glance, there seems no need to assume particle movement either. This thesis is an exploration into the syntax of one kind of such particles, namely clause type particles. I will show that these particles actually move and interact with other particles and with other constituents in the same clausal domain. Data was collected from three unrelated languages that have received little attention in the literature: Gascon, Innu, and Quebec French. Clause type particles are shown to occupy a position in the left periphery of the clause and to express both Force and Finiteness features at the same time. Evidence from these languages suggests that clause type particles interact with Topic constituents and with negative markers. This study offers a detailed analysis of these interactions.
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