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An LFG Approach To Wolof Cleft Constructions

Cheikh Bamba Dione


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This paper investigates the syntax of clefts in Wolof and proposes an analysis based on the Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) formalism. Wolof clefts illustrate an interaction between morphology, syntax and information structure. In particular, they vary morphosyntactically depending on what item is clefted. Structurally, the clefts lack the cleft pronoun, are mono-clausal at the phrasal level, however, bi-clausal at the functional level. Furthermore, they relate to copular constructions in that both instantiate the same form. Thus, an understanding of these constructions is a prerequisite for understanding how clefting works.

In this paper, I review different approaches towards copula predication within LFG and present my analysis of Wolof data. I propose a parallel syntactic approach that assumes a close-complement double-tier (PREDLINK) for copular and cleft clauses. In addition, I posit an i(nformation)-structure projection to allow for extra-syntactic analysis.

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