Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Issues in the syntax of Marathi : a minimalist approach
Author: Nayudu, Aarti
ISNI:       0000 0001 3440 2479
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis focuses on the syntax of Marathi, an Indo-Aryan language spoken predominantly in India. The main aim of the thesis is to provide a thorough description and analysis of core sentential structures in Marathi, with special focus on word order, case, agreement, and negation. Following Kayne (1994) the thesis establishes that Marathi has underlying SVO order and that the surface SOV order is derived via leftward movement. Thus, head-initial structure is assumed for all phrases in this thesis. Movement is assumed to be triggered by generalised [EPP] features which certain heads have. The case and agreement facts of the language are discussed in detail and a theoretical analysis is provided for the same within the framework of the Minimalist Program, as articulated in the recent work by Noam Chomsky (1995,1998,2000) and other scholars. The agreement facts and their analysis clearly indicate that nominative case is not independent of agreement, a fact that has been well established in many languages. Additionally Marathi shows special dual agreement (both subject and object) in second person constructions. This is accounted for by arguing for a second set of phifeatures on T. The case of the object is a problematic aspect of the syntax of many Indo- Aryan languages, including Marathi. The object can be assigned accusative, dative or nominative, according to certain rules. This is explained in part by assuming a difference between NP and DP: Accusative case is assigned only to DPs, whereas nominative case can be assigned to both. The thesis also argues that ergativity in Marathi is an instance of morphological ergativity and that ergative case is inherent. A polarity phrase based account is provided to accommodate the negation data. Traditionally a distinction is made between constituent negation (CN) and sentential negation (SN) in Marathi. The thesis argues for an analysis that unifies the two types of negation, in Marathi. The basic idea is (a) that a Pol(arity) head can be realized as negative or affirmative, and (b) the scope of Pol is the Spec PoIP position. Thus, for any phrase to be in the scope of negation, it has to move to the Spec Poll?. This movement is triggered by the [EPP] feature on the Pol head. In CN, the Pol has an additional [u FOC] feature which ensures the movement of the focused item into SpecPolP. Written Marathi is not a pro-drop language, but in spoken Marathi pro-drop is common. Marathi has null generic (indefinite) pronoun and definite null pronouns are allowed only when they have an antecedent in a higher clause or one in the immediate discourse. Thus both agreement and discourse contribute in some way towards the licensing of the null subjects. The thesis will demonstrate that Marathi is not an instance of a classical agreement-based pro-drop language, and also cannot be classified as a discourse pro-drop language. I present data that show that Marathi is a partial pro-drop language, in the sense of Holmberg (2005).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available