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Cover page of Perfective Aspect and Order of Affixation in Pulaar

Perfective Aspect and Order of Affixation in Pulaar


This paper explores the verbal system and more particularly the perfective aspect of the Pulaar language, which belongs to the Niger-Congo / North-Atlantic language family. In Pulaar, tense, aspect, negation, and voice are all encoded through verbal affixation. I show in this paper that the perfective aspect while informing about the completion of an event also encodes tense information. In the absence of an overt tense marker, I argue for a null tense head that carries a recent past tense feature. Considering the Fixed and Universal Hierarchy of Functional Heads Hypothesis (Cinque 1999) and the Mirror Principle (Baker 1985), I argue for verb movement using evidence from adverb adjunction and from the order of affixation of the perfective -ii, negation -aa and distant past -no morphemes. Moreover, I consider for comparative purposes the imperfective aspect and two varieties of Pulaar (Fuuta and Toore), highlighting differences concerning allomorphy and ordering of the perfective marker -ii. Following Alexiadou et al. (2015), I end with a brief discussion of voice and suggest that Pulaar provides evidence for an expletive voice head -ma that appears in middle/passive voice and anti-causative contexts, which supports the idea that voice alternation is responsible for the causative/anti-causative verbal variation found cross-linguistically.