Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/4792
Title: Predication and Equation in Okanagan Salish: The Syntax and Semantics of Determiner Phrases
Authors: Lyon, John
Keywords: American Indigenous Languages
Salish Languages
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: The University of British Columbia
Abstract: This dissertation investigates the syntax and semantics of equative structures (i.e. DP-DP structures and clefts) in the little studied and highly endangered Upper Nicola dialect of Okanagan Salish (a.k.a. Nsyílxc@n), and represents the first detailed investigation of equatives in a Salish language. From the theoretical perspective, Okanagan is noteworthy since there is no evidence for a predicational copula (contra Baker (2003), Adger and Ramchand (2003)) while there is evidence for a null equative copula (Heycock and Kroch, 1999), thereby supporting theories which argue for a structural distinction between predication and equation. Okanagan does not have an overt copula (A. Mattina 2001), yet does have sentences consisting only of two determiner phrases (DPs) (“DP-DP structures”). These exhibit a word order restriction which is absent from predications involving other syntactic categories, such that in answer to a WH-question, a directly referential demonstrative or proper name must precede a DP headed by the determiner iP (an “iP DP”). The implication is that specificational sentences (Higgins, 1973) are not possible in Okanagan. Given that iP DPs permit intensional readings, and that iP DPs never denote sets (Longobardi, 1994; Matthewson, 1998), I claim that the Okanagan equative head maps the intension of an individual to its extension, and is of type <<s,e> <e,t>> (Romero, 2005; Comorovski, 2007). Since there are no specificational sentences in Okanagan, and the equivalent of Higgins’ identi- ficational sentence class (e.g. That is John in English) pattern with copula-less, direct predications in Okanagan, the data support reducing Higgins’ taxonomy to only two types for Okanagan: predicational and equative (Heller, 2005). I claim that Okanagan clefts are also equative structures, based on evidence that clefts consist of two DPs and carry an implicature of exhaustivity (Davis et al., 2004). This implicature stems from the maximality implicature carried by the determiner iP which introduces the second DP (i.e. the residue). My analysis runs parallel to theories of English clefts which align cleft semantics to the semantics of determiners (Percus, 1997; Hedberg, 2000).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/4792
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