Linkers and the internal structure of vP

Mark C. Baker, Chris Collins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In a variety of languages a particle, which we call the linker, appears between the direct object and a secondary object or nominal adpositional phrase. We compare the syntax of this linker particle in Kinande (Niger-Congo) to its syntax in two Khoisan languages, Ju|'hoansi and ‡Hoan. We propose an account of the properties that linkers in these languages share, including the linkers' word order properties and Case-theoretic contributions. We then go on to explore the range of variation that the linker construction tolerates, with respect to what phrases can move into the linker's specifier, and whether or not the linker manifests agreement with its specifier. In so doing, we uncover both the principles and the parameters relevant to these linker constructions. Finally, we point to some evidence that the linker category even exists in Chichewa (and other Bantu languages) in which it is not spelled out overtly. Our analysis provides striking support for the existence of vPinternal functional projections. The data in this paper also lead us to the surprising conclusion that the Minimal Link Condition can be parameterized.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)307-354
    Number of pages48
    JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - May 2006

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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