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Agreement Between nPs and Modifiers in Bantu DPs

Rodrick Ndomba*

Abstract

Agreement is one of the conspicuous characteristics of structural relations holding among the categories or elements in syntactic constituents—clauses and phrases—in Bantu languages. This paper focuses on agreement relations in nominal phrases, specifically agreement between nouns (nPs) and respective elements, also called modifiers, in Bantu languages. The paper is premised around the Noam Chomsky’s minimalist approach, which assumes that items or elements in a phrase or clause standing in an agreement configuration are arranged via successive Merger binary operations taking place in a bottom-up fashion. Using evidence from Kiswahili, the paper argues that the agreement between head nouns and its modifiers of DP in Bantu languages stem from the raising of the head noun – nP. The approach to deriving agreement in Bantu DPs pursued departs from head specifier relations via government and the raising of N to class prefix via probe goal relations. The paper has assumed that proper agreement is a function of syntactic operations, specifically the raising of XP (nP) to Spec DP.

Keywords

agreement, Bantu, DP, Kiswahili, modifiers

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