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Polarity and Probing: Building Clauses in Gujarati

  • Author(s): Desai, Mansi Pranav
  • Advisor(s): McCloskey, James
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

This thesis investigates a complex set of interactions in Gujarati, involving the expression of tense and negation, as well as verbal agreement and case. The focus is on the standard dialect, which has not been thoroughly studied or documented in the contemporary syntactic framework. As such, this project aims to broaden the typology of syntactic theory by examining as yet unstudied facts of the clausal structure of Gujarati. I focus on the facts of word order in both the clausal and nominal domain, and the issues of phrase headedness.

With that as the syntactic foundation, I move on to investigate the expression of tense and negation in Gujarati. The expression of negation in Gujarati provides support for the cross-linguistically possible position of the Polarity head in the functional projection. Furthermore, some expressions of negation can be analyzed as portmanteau morphemes, supporting the idea that these morphemes realize spans of independent, syntactic heads. The expression of tense and negation also shed light on possible post-syntactic movements that languages may have, specifically regarding the inversion of post-syntactic elements.

Finally, I investigate the questions that verbal agreement in Gujarati raise. Specifically, questions regarding the interactions of morphological case and agreement. In Gujarati, there is reason to believe that Ergative case is assigned as a dependent case, but it crucially interacts in the syntactic operation of Agree. This fact raises important questions about the status of dependent cases in the syntax.

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