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Phonologically determined nominal concord as post-syntactic: Evidence from Guébie



This paper brings novel data to bear on whether nominal concord relationships are formed in the narrow syntax or post-syntactically. In Guébie, a Kru language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire, nominal concord marking on non-human pronouns and adjectives is determined not by syntactic or semantic features of the concord-triggering noun, but by the phonological form of the noun. Specifically, concord marking on pronouns and adjectives surfaces as a vowel with the same backness features as the vowels of the head noun. Assuming that syntax is phonology-free (Pullum & Zwicky 1986, 1988), the fact that we see phonological features conditioning nominal concord in Guébie means that nominal concord must take place in the post-syntax. I expand on post-syntactic models of nominal concord in Distributed Morphology (Kramer 2010, Norris 2014, Baier 2015) showing that when combined with a constraint-based phonology, such an approach can account for both phonologically and syntactico-semantically determined concord systems. Additionally, the proposed analysis includes a formal account of ellipsis via constraints during the phonological component.


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Author’s address:Georgetown University, 1421 37th Street NW, Poulton Hall 240, Washington, DC


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Thanks to the Guébie community, and especially to linguistic consultants Sylvain Bodji, Ines Laure Gnahore, Gnakouri Azie, Armand and Olivier Agodio, and Serikpa Emil. Also thanks to Peter Jenks, Larry Hyman, Sharon Inkelas, Darya Kavitskaya, Johanna Nichols, three anonymous reviewers, and audiences at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, Georgetown University, the LSA 2015 annual meeting, and WCCFL 33 for comments on various versions of this work.

Abbreviations used throughout this paper include sg $=$ singular, pl $=$ plural, pfv $=$ perfective, ipfv $=$ imperfective, nom $=$ nominative, acc $=$ accusative, pros $=$ prospective, poss $=$ possessive, emph $=$ emphatic, Part $=$ particle, def $=$ definite, cl $=$ noun class, adj $=$ adjectivizer, inf $=$ infinitive.



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Phonologically determined nominal concord as post-syntactic: Evidence from Guébie



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