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On the structure of A-bar constructions in Dagbani: Perspectives of «wh»-questions and fragment answers


Samuel Alhassan Issah

This book provides an account of the structure of A-bar constructions, focusing on wh-questions and fragment answers in Dagbani, a Mabia (Gur) language spoken in Northern Ghana. It demonstrates that Dagbani wh-phrases occur in two distinct positions, ex-situ and in-situ, except for subject wh-phrases, which only occur in the former position. It provides a theoretical analysis of the distribution of the wh-phrases couched within minimalism (Chomsky 1995). Finally, the book gives an account of the structural correlation between wh-questions and their answers with the focus on the syntactic derivation of fragment answers. The author contends that the derivation of fragment answer involves two processes: A-bar movement together with PF-deletion

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Chapter one General introduction


1.0 Introduction

The goal of this dissertation is to provide a syntactic account of A-bar constructions in Dagbani, focusing on the structure of wh-questions and their answers. In this chapter, I present some background information on the genetic affiliation and basic clause structure of Dagbani, the objectives of the study, the theoretical frameworks within which the analyses are couched, a theory of focus, given the fact that the idea of focus is relevant to later discussions in the dissertation, the sources of the data used, orthography used in the presentation of the Dagbani data used in this current research, and the structure of the dissertation. This chapter shall proceed as follows. In section 1.1, I present a brief overview of the language and its speakers focusing on the genetic affiliation, the population of speakers and their geographical location. Section 1.2 outlines the objectives that underline the present study, while section 1.3 briefly comments on the sources of the data used in the current study as well as the orthography used in presenting the Dagbani data. Though I show that the writing system is based on the current approved orthography for Dagbani, I also point out the fact that where there are apparent unscientific spelling rules that would pose a threat to syntactic analysis, or are empirically unmotivated, I defy such rules. Section 1.4 is devoted to a discussion of the theoretical frameworks within which the analyses are cast. I show that the analyses are couched within...

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