Muneer Ali S Alzahrani PhD Defense: 'The Linguistic Cycles in Mehri: Diachronic and Syntactic Views'

Committee: Elly van Gelderen (Chair), Mark James, Tyler Peterson.  ::  ABSTRACT: The study aims to explore negation in Mehri and provide a historical and theoretical account for the types of negation in Mehri. I begin with a diachronic analysis by adopting the grammaticalization theory and providing several examples illustrating how this process— grammaticalization —is taking place in Mehri. I also discuss the negative existential cycle suggested by Croft (1991) and I find Mehri language to be in Stage B > C.  In addition, I propose an account of the negative copula in Mehri after I show examples for the reanalysis of a pronoun as a copula because of the grammaticalization process. I demonstrate how this pronoun ends in the head position of PredP and raises to attach to the negative l- /al and forms the negative copula. Regarding the theoretical account, I follow Laka (1994), Van Gelderen, (2011) and argue that a negative particle in bi-partite negative clauses was weakened and changed to PolP. In other words, I assume that the preverbal negative (if any) is in the TP layer, changed to a PolP with a u-negative feature in need of checking by the new negative la that is projected above TP.  I also provide a morphological account by assuming that the preverbal negative particles are clitics that are picked by the subject or verb movement. This agrees with Chomsky (2001) and Boeckx and Stjepanović (2001) who find that head movement involves morphological components. To account for negation and negative polarity items, I argue that NPIs such as nowah ‘never’ and ʃaagtaʕ ‘never’ merge with the negative element la to check the negative feature. Finally, I propose an account of negation associated with coordinates clauses, following van Gelderen (2006) who states “the speaker will only use —e.g., coordinates— for structures where a phrase is necessary” (P.6), similarly, I assume that grammaticalization is not active in Mehri negative coordinates clauses because they are phrases. For this reason, I suggest W feature in the coordinate phrase that needs checking by the negative al-/l to form one unit with the following element.

This is a virtual presentation:

Sheila Luna
Friday, Sep. 23, 2022, 9:30 a.m.

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