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Subject and topic: evidence from Kenyang
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 00:13 authored by Melanie GreenMelanie Green, Florence A. E. Florence
The Cameroonian language Kenyang provides evidence for the view that subjects evolve from topics, and subject agreement morphemes from pronominal subjects. Kenyang has fully grammaticalised clause-internal subjects, and a pre-verbal subject marker that licenses null subjects, as well as marking aspect. Clause-external topics may be involved in subject-like processes such as reflexivisation or control of a null embedded subject, but only through a chain of reference mediated by a co-referential subject. A comparison of topic and clause-initial contrastive focus enables a full characterisation of topic by revealing systematic structural differences. A broadly minimalist analysis provides a straightforward model of the findings.
JournalTransactions of the Philological Society
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- English Publications
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