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The morphosyntax of adverbs in Shupamem

Université de Yaoundé 1 - Master en Linguistique Générale 2016

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This chapter was divided into three main sections, namely, the left periphery, adverbs fronting in Shupamem, and the impact of adverb fronting on their relative order. The first section aimed at presenting the structure of the left peripheral domain, while the second part aimed at analyzing adverbs fronting, through focalization and topicalization of the different adverb classes.

As far as the analysis on the left periphery are concerned, I realized that the main constituents of the left peripheral domain are the Force, the Topic and the Focus phrases. The data showed that the ForceP dominates the TopP, which in turn dominates the FocP. Furthermore, my analysis showed that there can be NegP and RelP at the left periphery. Therefore, the order between all these elements are ForceP>TopP>NegP>ForceP>RelP.

As far as focalization and topicalization are concerned, I realized with higher class adverbs that speech act adverbs license topicalization and focalization with «poì», while they do not with the cleft copula «». Epistemic I adverb licenses only topicalization, not focalization. For pre-verbal lower class adverbs, they cannot be topicalized. They only allow focalization with the cleft copula «». Finally, post-verbal adverbs allow focalization and topicalization. Their focalization with the cleft copula «» requires additional elements, (mb?ì kaì, mb?ì j??ì etc, and «n?ì» at the end of the sentence). This is the reason why those structures are not frequently used in the discourse. Furthermore, I realized that focalization and topicalization can imply some changes on adverbs orders in the sentence. However, this is not tenable for aspectual adverbs whose relative order remains unchanged in the marked and the unmarked forms.


The general objective of this research work entitled The morphosyntax of adverbs in Shupamem (991) was to study the morphology and the syntax of adverbs and adverbial expressions in Shupamem. The thesis was driven within the framework of the Minimalist Program of Chomsky (1993, 1995, etc). However, I also drew inspiration from the Cartographic Approach of Rizzi (1997) and the Cinquean (1999) approach, that is, his advocate for a cross-linguistic fixed hierarchy of adverbs. All these methods led me to interesting findings in relation to the aims of the study.

On the one hand, the morphological study aimed at presenting the different forms and the formation processes of adverbs in Shupamem. In other words, the section devoted to morphologylooked at the different derivation processes of adverbs in Shupamem. On the other hand, the goal of the syntactic study was to reveal the different positions that adverbs occupy within the sentence, that is, their unmarked positions. It also presentedthe order of occurrence and the hierarchy of adverbs within a structure, in the light of the Cinquean (1999) approach. Furthermore, Isought to know the structure of the left periphery of Shupamem, and to identify the adverbs that license focalization and topicalization, and those that do not.

Firstly, the study of adverbs morphology revealed that Shupamen distinguishes between pure and derived adverbs. As far as pure adverbs are concerned, there are lexical and grammatical adverbs. Lexical adverbs are those that have sense on their own. Thus, we have temporal adverbs such as «?kuìr?Ì» (yesterday), «f?ìmn??ì» (tomorrow), the exocomparative adverbs «ndu?niì» (differently), and others. Grammatical adverbs do not convey meaning on their own. They are aspectual adverbs such as «ti?ì» (progressive), «kaì» (habitual), «piÌt» (repetitive).

As far as derived adverbs are concerned, Shupamem has four derivation processes, namely affixation, adjunction, reduplication and substitution.

Affixation is the main process through which manner adverbs are derived. The suffixes «-kériì»and «-riì» areattached to the nominal or adjectival stems respectively to form adverbs. This is the case with «poÌkériì»(well), «kénkériì» (tiredly),and others.

The adjunction process on its part is concerned with the addition of some particles, mostly prepositions to nouns or adjectives to form adverbs. Some examples of adverbs formed through adjunctioninclude manner adverbs «n?ì k?ì» (forcefully), «n?Ì ???ì» (angrily), temporal adverbs «n?Ì ?yì?» (in the night), «n?Ì ?kuì?n??ì» (in the morning), frequency adverbs «?gu?lién??Ì» (everyday), «?kaì im?Ì?» (once), ideophonic adverbs «miì kp?Ìm» (quietly), «miÌ waìnn?», (rapidly), and others.

Reduplication process is concerned with the duplication of the word.It is the case with celerative adverb «m?ìjeìt m?ìjeìt» (slowly), the temporal adverbial «n?ì ?yì? ?yÌ?» (in the night) and the exocomparative adverbs «?g?ì? ?g?ì?» (similarly).

Finally, the substitution process concerns the nouns or adjectives whose last vowel is substituted by another vowel, in order to form an adverb. It is the case with manner adverbs such as «raÌ??i?» (rudely) which is made from the adjective «raÌ???Ì» (rude), and «?yÌ?ri?» (stubbornly) made from the noun «?yÌ?r?Ì» (stubbornness).

Secondly,the syntactic study of adverbs revealed that Shupamem has two main adverb classes, namely the higher classand the lower class adverbs. The higher class adverbs includes adverbs that are base-generated in the sentence initial position,such as the speech act adverb «m?Ì ndaì ?gaÌm» (honestly) and the epistemic I adverb «m?ì? mb?ì» (maybe). Both of them license topicalization. As for focalization, the speech act adverb allows only the focus morpheme «poì», not the cleft copula «», whereas the epistemic I adverb allows none of the two focalization processes. In other words, the epistemic I adverb cannot be focalized.

Concerning the lower class, it is divided into two groups, which are the pre-verbal and the post-verbal adverbs. Pre-verbal adverbs include all the aspectual adverbs (progressive, repetitive, habitual, continuative, and anterior tense), and the epistemic II adverb «k?Ì mbuì?/puì?» (unavoidably). They all allow focalization through the cleft copula «», at the condition that they raise to the left periphery alongside the verbs that they modify. Their focalization is not possible with the focus particle «poì», because this particle is used only for post-verbal items.

The post-verbal adverbs include the rest of the adverbs, which are the manner, the celerative, the temporal, the locative, the frequency, the degree, the restrictive, the ideophonic, the comparative and the exocomparative adverbs. My analysis showed that all these adverbs license focalization and topicalization. Their focalization through the cleft copula «» requires additional elements in the structure, such as «mb?ì j??ì» (which is what), «mb?ì jekaì», (which is how), «mb?ì ?aìj??ì» (which is where), and the declarative morpheme «n?ì» at the end of the sentence. For thereason of their complexity,such structuresare rarely used in the discourse.

Finally, as far as the order and hierarchy of adverbs are concerned, I realized that the fixed hierarchy posited by Cinque (1999) is tenable only between the higher class adverbs and the pre-verbal lower class adverbs. In fact, my data showed that pre-verbal lower class adverbs cannot come before the higher class adverbs, nor can they come after post-verbal adverbs. However, between the post-verbal adverbs, the order is highly flexible. Forexample, the locative can precede or follow the manner adverbs, the temporal adverbs, etc, and all this being interchangeable. Based on what has been discussed, the hierarchy of adverbs in Shupamem is as follows:




Furthermore, based on Rizzi's (1997) Fine Structure of the Left Periphery, I have studied and established the structure of elements above TP in shupamem. In fact, operations like focalization, topicalization, relativization and question formation can initiate movements to non-arguments position. It was observed that the order of adverbs of the language maychange for higher class adverbs and post-verbal adverbs,due to focalization and topicalization. However, the order between the pre-verbal lower class adverbs is not interchangeable. In other words, the aspectual adverbs do not change their order of occurrence, be it in the unmarked or the marked forms. In the same light, some restrictions are observed as far as the topicalization and the focalization of some adverbs are concerned.

Epistemic I adverbs cannot be focalized while epistemic II can easily be focalized. Furthermore, aspectual adverbs cannot be topicalized. Out of that, I realized that the Topic Phrase precedes the Focus and the Relative Phrases in Shupamem. In addition, when negation occurs within the left peripheral domain, it must come before the FocP. Thus, the structure of the left periphery of Shupamem is ForceP>TopP>NegP>FocP>RelP.

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