image of Deriving Ewe (Tongugbe) nyá-constructions
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Ewe (Kwa, Niger-Congo) has a construction known in the literature as the -construction (Ameka 1991, 2005a; Collins 1993; Duthie 1996; Adjei 2014). The logical internal argument of the construction occurs in subject position and the logical external argument is either absent on the surface or represented in the construction as a -PP. In this paper, I consider the syntax of the Ewe -construction, exploring data from the Tongugbe dialect. I show that the -construction shares properties with English middles. I demonstrate that the agent or experiencer -PP that may occur in the -construction is its external argument, projected in Spec vP. Further, I argue that even if the -PP is not overtly realized, it is syntactically projected in Spec vP, contrary to theories like Bruening 2013. The analysis I put forward provides support for the Theta-Criterion, which forces all arguments to be syntactically projected.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ackema, Peter & Maaike Schoorlemmer
    2007 Middles. The Blackwell companion to syntax, –.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Adjei, Francisca
    2014 Children’s use of nya construction in Ewe. Journal of West African Languages. –.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Agbedor, Paul
    1994 Verb serialization in Ewe. Nordic journal of African studies.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Ameka, Felix K.
    1991 Ewe: Its grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices. Doctoral dissertation, ANU.
  5. 2005a “The woman is seeable” and “the woman perceives seeing”: undergoer voice construction in Ewe and Likpe. Studies in the languages of the Volta Basin. –.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. 2005b Forms of secondary predication in serializing languages: On depictives in Ewe. Secondary predication and adverbial modification: The typology of depictives. Oxford University Press, –. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272266.003.0011
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272266.003.0011 [Google Scholar]
  7. 2006 Ewe serial verb constructions in their grammatical context. Serial verb constructions: A cross-linguistic typology–.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Angelopoulos, Nikos, Collins, Collins, Michelioudakis, Dimitris, & Terzi, Arhonto
    . To appear. On the syntactic status of implicit arguments: Greek as a case study. Proceedings of WCCFL.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Badan, Linda & Leston Buell
    2012 Exploring expressions of focus in Ewe. Nordic Journal of African Studies: –.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Bhatt, Rajesh & Roumyana Pancheva
    2017 Implicit arguments. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Second Edition: –. 10.1002/9781118358733.wbsyncom118
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118358733.wbsyncom118 [Google Scholar]
  11. Bruening, Benjamin
    2013 By phrases in passives and nominals. Syntax, –. 10.1111/j.1467‑9612.2012.00171.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9612.2012.00171.x [Google Scholar]
  12. Caha, Pavel
    2009The nanosyntax of case. Tromso, Norway: Universitet i Tromso Dissertation.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Charnavel, Isabelle & Chrissy Zlogar
    2015 English reflexive logophors. Proceedings of CLS, –.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Chomsky, Noam
    1986Knowledge of language. New York: Praeger.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. 1995The Minimalist Program. MIT Press, Cambridge.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. 2000 Minimalist inquiries: The framework. In Step by step: Essays on minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik, eds.Roger Martin, David Michaels, and Juan Uriagereka, 89?155. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Collins, Chris
    1993Topics in Ewe syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Doctoral dissertation.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. 1997 Argument sharing in serial verb constructions. Linguistic inquiry–.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. 2005a A smuggling approach to the passive in English. Syntax. –. 10.1111/j.1467‑9612.2005.00076.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9612.2005.00076.x [Google Scholar]
  20. . to appear. Principles of argument structure: a merge-based approach. MIT Press
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Coon, Jessica & Preminger, Omer
    2011 Transitivity in Chol: A new argument for the split VP hypothesis. InProceedings of the NELS, vol..
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Dorgbetor, Nathaniel
    2016A comparative investigation into the syntax of double object constructions in English and Ewe: a minimalist approach. Master–s thesis, NTNU.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Duthie, Alan S.
    1996Introducing Ewe linguistic patterns: A textbook of phonology, grammar, and semantics. Ghana Univ. Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Essegbey, James
    2010 Inherent complement verbs and the basic double object construction in Gbe. InTopics in Kwa syntax (pp.–). Springer, Dordrecht. 10.1007/978‑90‑481‑3189‑1_8
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-3189-1_8 [Google Scholar]
  25. Fagan, Sarah M. B.
    1988 The English middle. Linguistic Inquiry–.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. 1992The syntax and semantics of middle constructions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Gotah, Selikem & Soo-Hwan Lee
    2024 Syntactic Negation in Ewe (Tongugbe) Agent Nominalization. Syntax–. 10.1111/synt.12280
    https://doi.org/10.1111/synt.12280 [Google Scholar]
  28. Halpert, Claire & Jochen Zeller
    2016 The external argument in Zulu passives. Unpublished, presented at Bantu 6, Helsinki.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Keyser, Samuel Jay & Thomas Roeper
    1984 On the middle and ergative constructions in English. Linguistic inquiry (), –.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Kratzer, Angelika
    1996 Severing the external argument from its verb. Phrase structure and the lexicon–. 10.1007/978‑94‑015‑8617‑7_5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-8617-7_5 [Google Scholar]
  31. Legate, Julie
    2014Voice and v: lessons from Achenese. MIT Press, Cambridge. 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028141.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9780262028141.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  32. Merchant, Jason
    2008 An asymmetry in voice mismatches in vp-ellipsis and pseudo-gapping. Linguistic Inquiry(). –. 10.1162/ling.2008.39.1.169
    https://doi.org/10.1162/ling.2008.39.1.169 [Google Scholar]
  33. Rizzi, Luigi
    1990Relativized minimality. The MIT Press, Cambridge.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Roberts, Ian
    1986The representation of implicit and dethematized subjects. Foris, Dordrecht.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. 2019Parameter hierarchies and universal grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780198804635.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198804635.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  36. Stroik, Thomas
    1992 Middles and movement. Linguistic Inquiry. –. 10.1162/002438999553986
    https://doi.org/10.1162/002438999553986 [Google Scholar]
  37. 1995 On middle formation: a reply to Zribi-Hertz. Linguistic Inquiry, –.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. 1999 Middles and reflexivity. Linguistic Inquiry, –. 10.1162/002438999553986
    https://doi.org/10.1162/002438999553986 [Google Scholar]
  39. 2000Syntactic Controversies. LINCOM.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. 2005 Book review: Markus Steinbach. Middle voice: A comparative study in the syntax-semantics interface of German. (Linguistik Aktuell; 50). Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics, –. 10.1007/s10828‑004‑6542‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10828-004-6542-4 [Google Scholar]
  41. 2006 Arguments in middles. InBenjamin Lynfelt and Torgrim Solstad (eds.), Demoting the Agent: Passive, Middle and other Voice Phenomena, –. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam. 10.1075/la.96.14str
    https://doi.org/10.1075/la.96.14str [Google Scholar]
  42. Sulemana, Abdul-Razak
    2023Passive without morphology: a case for implicit arguments. Ms. University of Ghana, Legon.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Vendler, Zeno
    1957 Verbs and times. The Philosophical Review (), –. 10.2307/2182371
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2182371 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: Ewe (Tongugbe) ; nyá-construction ; implicit argument ; smuggling ; A-movement
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error