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Share Paper 2714

Two Subject Asymmetries in Defaka Focus Constructions
Wm. G. Bennett, Akinbiyi Akinlabi, and Bruce Connell
294-302 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Focus constructions in Defaka exhibit two morphological subject-object asymmetries. First, an extra post-verbal clitic appears with focused objects, but not with focused subjects. Second, focused subjects appear with a different form of the focus-marking particle than other types of focused phrases. This paper proposes an analysis that ties both of these asymmetries to conditions on focus movement imposed by the vP phase edge. Since focused objects originate inside the vP phase, they require an intermediate movement to the phase edge in order to get to FocP; the extra post-verbal clitic that appears with focused objects is analyzed as a reflex of this intermediate movement. Since subjects originate in the phase edge, their case features are resolved in the same phase of the derivation as the focus feature; this makes it possible for case and focus features to fuse into a single syncretic head when a subject is focused, resulting in the appearance of a different focus-marking particle.

Published in

Proceedings of the 29th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Jaehoon Choi, E. Alan Hogue, Jeffrey Punske, Deniz Tat, Jessamyn Schertz, and Alex Trueman
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Printed edition: $375.00