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The Syntax and Typology of Bantu Relative Clauses
Henderson, Brent Mykel
Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This thesis is concerned with examining and explaining the commonalities and differences found across complementizer-type relative clauses in the Bantu languages, focusing on strong correlations between points of variation. The facts I discuss concern co-variation between agreement in the C-T domain and subject-verb inversion as well as co-variation between object agreement and resumption and complementizer agreement and resumption in object relative clauses. It is argued that agreement variation in the C-T domain can be explained by appeal to universal syntactic principles governing agreement and two morphological parameters that define the location of features in functional heads of clause structure. It is also argued that correlations between agreement and resumption result from differing derivational strategies languages employ to avoid violating general conditions on chain formation. The specific system argued for includes a derivational system of syntax in which only unvalued features are probes, probes are unrestricted with regard to the direction of probing, and the locality of syntactic relations is a dynamic evaluative procedure. Languages discussed include Swahili, Kirundi, Dzamba, Lingala, Zulu, Swati, Chichewa, Shona, Sesotho, and others.