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ERIC Number: ED549063
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 147
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-4744-2
The Syntax of Zero in African American Relative Clauses
Sistrunk, Walter
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
African American relative clauses are distinct from Standard English relative clauses in allowing zero subject relatives and zero appositive relatives. Pesetsky and Torrego's (2003) (P&T) analysis of the subject-nonsubject asymmetry in relative clauses accounts for zero object relatives while restricting zero subject relatives. P&T propose that the head noun simply topicalizes in zero object relatives; since T cannot probe its own specifier, topicalization cannot occur in subject relatives thus accounting for the subject-nonsubject asymmetry. However, an analysis that restricts zero subject relatives poses a problem for African American English in which zero object relatives and zero subject relatives occur. I argue P&T's analysis can still account for zero subject relatives if we consider other constructions that involve move operations in African American. I argue that a topicalization feature heads its own intermediate node which triggers the movement of the head noun making it possible for African American to have both zero object relatives and zero subject relatives. Assuming that this analysis is correct, I propose that African American relativization differs from Standard English in having its topicalization feature on the intermediate projection, which I call ZP. In Standard English, the topicalization feature is a sub-feature on T. Evidence that ZP exists in African American is seen in negative inversion constructions where the auxiliary moves over the subject. In summary, relativization in African American differs from Standard English in having ZP which triggers movement of the head noun from either the subject or the object position; while in Standard English the topicalization feature on T can only trigger the movement of the head noun from the object position. I also use this argument to account for zero appositive relatives in African American as well. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A