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The morphosyntax of adverbs in Shupamem

Université de Yaoundé 1 - Master en Linguistique Générale 2016

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2.9.2. Lower class adverbs

The previous analysis (chapter 4) indicated that lower class adverbs aredivided into pre-verbal and post-verbal adverbs. The pre-verbal adverbs include the aspectual and the epistemic IIadverbs, while the post-verbal adverbs include the locative, the manner, the celerative, the temporal, the degree, the restrictive, the comparative, the exocomparative adverbs, and others. Pre-verbal adverbs

The pre-verbal adverbs are the aspectual adverbs(habitual, repetitive, continuative, anterior tense andprogressive), and the epistemic II. Aspectual adverbs

As earlier mentioned in chapter four concerning their morphological property, aspectual adverbs are mainly grammatical words. The data in (28) below show that they can be focalized as part of the VP in which they are found.

(28) Focalization

a) m?ìn ti?ì nsuì taìsaÌ

child Prog. wash dish

«The child is washing the dish»

b) aÌ ti?ì nsuì m?ìn taìsaÌ

Cl. Prog. wash child dish

«It is the child that IS WASHING the dish»

c) *m?ìn poì ti?ì nsuì taìsaÌ

child Foc Prog. wash dish

Intended: «it is the child that IS WASHING the dish»

d) aì kaì nsuì m?ìn taìsaÌ

Cl. Hab. wash child dish

«It is ALWAYSthat the child that washes the dish»

e) *m?ìn poì kaì nsuì taìsaÌ

child Foc. Hab. wash dish

Intended: «It is the child that ALWAYS washes the dish»

f) aì pit nsuì m?ìn taìsaÌ

Cl. Rep. wash child dish

«It is the child that WASHED the dish AGAIN»

g) *m?ìn poì pit nsuì taìsaÌ

child Foc. Rep. wash dish

Intended: «The child has WASHED the dish AGAIN»

h) aì t?Ìt nsuì m?ìn taìsaÌ

Cl. Ant. wash child dish

«It is the child that JUST WASHED the dish»

i) *m?ìn poì t?Ìt nsuì taìsaÌ

child Foc Ant. wash dish

Intended: «It is the child that JUST washed the dish»

The data in (28.c), (28.e), (28.g) and (28.i) show that focalization with «poì» is not possible with pre-verbal lower class adverbs. Meanwhile those in (28.b), (28.d), (28.f) and (28.h) show that they can be focalized with the cleft copula «». It is worth mentioning that this focalization of aspectual adverbs initiates the subject inversion in the structure. For instance, one movesfrom SVO to VSO structure. The new structure will be the one represented by the phrase marker in (29) below:

(29) FocP

Spec Foc'

Foc0 TP

Spec T'


Spec V'


aìkaì nsuìm?ìn kaì nsuì m?ìn nsuì taìsaÌ

This structure shows that for pre-verbal lower class adverbs to be focalized, there should be raising of aspect morphemes alongside the verb. The verb moves from V0 and attaches to the aspectual morpheme at T0, and they are moved together from T0to Foc0. In relation to the other types of focalization studied previously, the cleft copula «» occupies the specifier of the Focus Phrase.

As far as topicalization of aspectual adverbs is concerned, the data in (30) below show that this process is impossible. This is due to the fact that topicalization in Shupamem requires movement to the left periphery of the sentence, and aspect markers cannot come at the sentence initial position. Even their raising alongside the verb still makes the sentence ungrammatical.

(30) Topicalization

a) m?ìn kaì nsuì taìsaÌ

child Hab. wash dish

«The child always washes the dish»

b) *kaì n?ì, m?ìn nsuì taìsaÌ

Hab.Top child wash dish

Intended: «Always,the child washes the dish»

c) *kaì nsuì n?ì, m?ìn taìsaÌ

Hab.wash Top, child dish

Intended: «Always,the Washes child the dish»

Aspectual adverbs allow focalization with «». They neither undergo focalization with «poì» nor topicalization.

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