Auxiliary Initial Alternation in Tohono O'odham: A Syntactic Analysis of a Focus Driven Phenonmenon
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractTohono O'odham is one of many non-configurational languages that do not seem to fit nicely into the generally accepted pattern of Chomskyan Generative Syntax. O'odham has an extremely free word order that makes it difficult to analyze as hierarchical or syntax driven. However, this paper analyzes Tohono O'odham as a Pronominal Argument language that actually has rigid order among its arguments and proposes that these arguments behave according to accepted syntactic principles. Specifically, the verb second/ verb initial alternation in O'odham reveals deeper syntactic relationships within the sentence. Usually, the auxiliary verb of O'odham must be the second constituent in any sentence, but there are exceptions where it may come in the initial position. These exceptions involve a class of verbal particles that interact with the auxiliary and the main verb. This paper will go on to describe the CP, TP, and VP structure of O'odham and how the auxiliary, verbal particles, main verb, and the Focus function combine to create the verb initial construction.
Degree ProgramHonors College