Argument movement in the Tiv language


This paper investigates the mechanism of argument movement in the derivation of grammatical Tiv construction. It examines Tiv as a syntactically ergative language and how ergative case is valued as well as the feature computation of T in ergative constructions. Raising constructions in Tiv is defined as hy­per-raising and this paper also provides insight on how features in such constructions are valued so as to avoid a situation which this paper also identifies as feature roaming. The paper also considers the effects of phase heads: whether strong phase heads block movement or not; it also seeks to account for the features re­sponsible for copy movement where it is operational in Tiv especially in subject to object movement. Using the framework of the Minimalist program, this work submits that DPs ergative constructions value their case in relationship with the verb before movement which makes the movement not for greed but to value the edge feature of T; therefore, T in ergative constructions is identified as mere Ts. In raising constructions, the mechanism of case delay has to be employed so as to avoid “feature roaming”. In this case copies left at the extraction sites, overt or covert are still useful in valuation of case in raising constructions in Tiv. In cases of copy movement, the paper accounts for such instances in terms of strong structural features such as Edge feature and complementation. The paper recommends that narrow syntax condition such as Earliness condi­tion is too strict for Tiv syntax and the syntax of other related languages and therefore should be relaxed.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v9p243

Keywords: Minimalist program; Ergative; Raising; Feature(s); Case delay


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