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Title: DP Internal Agreement in Amharic. A Reverse Agree Solution
Authors: Workneh, Desalegn Belaynew
Keywords: Afro-Asiatic Languages
Semitic Languages
Amharic - Grammar
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: University of Tromso
Abstract: The main objective of this thesis is demonstrating that the DP internal functional elements in Amharic are the lexicalizations of the agreement between the functional projections in higher positions with the lexical elements in the c-command domains of these functional projections. The complex distribution of the functional elements such as the gender, number, definiteness and case markers is argued to be derived via the same mechanism -Multiple/Reverse Agree. Describing the lexical and functional elements, the thesis starts from sketching the basic framework of the DP structure in the language. Emphasizing on the striking similarities the functional elements exhibit, it then goes to propose that these functional elements are the reflexes of the same syntactic operation - Multiple/Reverse Agree - established between the functional heads (K, D, C and Num) and the lexical heads in the c-command domains of these functional heads. By focusing on many of the issues that escaped attention in the literature such as the dependency of the adjectival agreement on the definiteness article, the thesis comes with a strong claim that the Ф features (specifically the gender feature) merge on D, rather than on the head noun–contra to the standard assumption. Arguing that Multiple/Reverse Agree is an obligatory operation in definite noun phrases, the apparent optionality of the functional elements on the modifiers is also analyzed to be an effect of a feature incorporation operation on the PF (interface) domain of the grammar. The placement of the traditionally dubbed ‘complementizer’ element, y ̈a, is also derived in the same way to other agreement elements. Assuming that all the y ̈a-phrases, such as relative clauses, possessives and complement phrases are headed by null C–head, the thesis derives the complicated distribution of the particle y ̈a in all the y ̈a-phrases in a uniform fashion. Y ̈a is taken to be, just like the rest of the functional elements in the DP, the reflex of the Multiple/Reverse Agreement between the C and the lexical heads in the c-command domains of C.
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