Nominals as adjuncts or arguments

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Generativists have argued that nominals in non-configurational languages such as Warlpiri do not have the status of arguments. This paper provides new evidence for this claim from an unlikely source: code-switching between Kriol, an English-based creole, and Gurindji, a Ngumpin-Yapa language closely related to Warlpiri. In Gurindji-Kriol code-switching, case-marked nominals are non-obligatory and, where they do occur, they are cross-referenced with a pronoun. This pattern is found even where Kriol sets the morpho-syntactic frame and provides the pronouns. The structure reflects that of monolingual Gurindji where bound pronouns are obligatory and nominals are optional. Given the resistance of inflectional morphology to switching, it is unexpected to find Gurindji case-marked nominals present in an otherwise Kriol morpho-syntactic frame. Nonetheless, structural material can enter into a code-switched clause via structural islands which do not participate in the predicate argument structure of the code-switched clause. This paper argues that case-marked nominals are structural islands and this adjunct-like structure must have been available in the source language, Gurindji, thereby providing further evidence for the non-argument status of Gurindji nominals.


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