Island extraction in Mende, an SOV Mande language spoken in
Sierra Leone, does not neatly align with well-known analyses, such
as McCloskey’s (2006) work on Irish or Koopman’s (1982) work on
Vata. Quantifier float and reconstruction effects, such as ideophones and Principle A binding, suggest that a movement analysis best accounts for the presence of left-peripheral wh-words and focus
constructions in Mende. Movement out of wh- and left branch weak
islands is permitted, while movement out of adjunct clauses and coordinate structures is prohibited. Intriguingly, relative clause and CNPC islands permit extraction only when they modify the subject.
Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers