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Bookmark and Share Paper 3146

Bantu Wh-agreement and the Case against Probe Impoverishment
Jason Zentz
290-301 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In many languages, A'-movement in the syntax is reflected by alternations in the morphology. Categorizing these extraction morphology phenomena on the basis of the morphological alternation involved produces three types, all of which are found in Bantu languages: replacement, deletion, and addition. This paper illustrates each of these types of extraction morphology with Bantu examples before demonstrating how the existence of the third type (addition extraction morphology or wh-agreement) in languages such as Shona, Duala, Lubukusu, and Akɔɔse proves problematic for an account of extraction morphology that relies on the deletion of features. Lahne (2009) proposes that extraction morphology is always less specific than canonical morphology; she implements this intuition using a mechanism called probe impoverishment, whereby a feature on the probe is deleted each time movement occurs. Here, cases of Bantu wh-agreement are shown to be counterexamples to Lahne's Generalization and to be more amenable to traditional analyses in which the additional morphology is the realization of the movement-triggering feature.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, and One Tlale Boyer
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00