1887

The morphosyntax of wolof clefts

image of The morphosyntax of wolof clefts

This paper examines the structure and derivation of cleft clauses in the Atlantic language Wolof, which possesses distinct clefts for subjects and nonsubjects. I argue that the clefts are based on two syntactically distinct copular constructions. In the subject cleft, the copula occurs with a TPstructure. In the nonsubject cleft, the copula occurs with a CPlike structure. In terms of derivation, I argue that Wolof clefts involve overt movement of the clefted constituent, not base generation. I show that Wolof clefts are islandsensitive using general and Wolofspecific tests. I then present evidence from a number of reconstruction tests that converge on the conclusion that clefted items in Wolof undergo A’movement. Keywords: A’- movement; wh-movement; reconstruction; copula; cleft; focus; left periphery; Niger-Congo; Atlantic

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Kansas

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