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A Non-Coercing Account of Event Structure in Pular

Evans, James Barrie; (1998) A Non-Coercing Account of Event Structure in Pular. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In the light of recent theories of event structure and focus interpretation, this thesis proposes an analysis of the semantic and pragmatic values of the main perfective forms of Pular, a dialect of the Fulfulde language of the West Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family. The perfective system of Pular shows considerable complexity, there being three basic forms and several other forms with additional morphological marking. The semantic and pragmatic distinction between these forms has up till now resisted satisfactory analysis. Three basic forms and an additional statively-marked form are considered to constitute the four main forms in the Pular perfective system. An analysis of these forms is proposed in which it is argued that the notion of coercion, found in other proposals on event structure, is inappropriate and its function can be replaced by the use of a richer event structure of events and sub-events. To capture the appropriate interpretation of the perfective forms, a Neo- Davidsonian logical form is used, building on and elaborating ideas of Higginbotham, in which both event structure and verb focus can be portrayed. This type of logical form is justified in terms of the Carlsonian Kind/Object/Stage distinction, and is considered to portray the mental representation of an utterance in conceptual structure, in the sense of Jackendoff’s proposals on the architecture of the language faculty. Further, in conjunction with relevance-theoretic principles of utterance interpretation, Rooth's alternative semantics theory of focus is deployed to show how these logical forms are interpreted and considered felicitous or infelicitous in different contexts. This analysis of the Pular perfective verb system shows how a layered ontology of events and sub-events can be used to analyse a complex perfective system and constitutes an advance on previous studies of aspectual phenomena in Fulfulde.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A Non-Coercing Account of Event Structure in Pular
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121061
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