Master's Student Presentations
Recent developments in cartographic approaches to Generative syntax predict strong formal linguistic universals among the ordering of phrases at the clausal edge. Seminal investigations of Rizzi (1997), Cinque (1999), and others have demonstrated a need for an expanded left periphery in clausal structure, opposed to the traditional singular Complementizer Phrase (CP). This expanded CP domain is broken into an array of functional projections that are assumed to be present, when active, in every language’s clauses. This internal structure of the CP assumes at least a Force Phrase, Interrogative Phrase, Contrast Phrase, recursive Topic Phrases enveloping a Focus Phrase, and a Finite Phrase. A basic outline of these projections is laid out in (1) below where recursive phrases are marked with an asterisk: (1) [ForceP [InterP [TopP* [FocP [TopP* [FinP [IP... ]]]]]]]] I test these strong theoretical predictions with Ibibio, a Niger Congo language. I argue that on the basis of such diagnostics as focus fronting, topicalization, wh movement, and polar questions, an expanded CP domain is indeed necessary, and does describe the ordering of many phrases. However, Raising to C in relative clauses (Duncan, Major, & Udoinyang 2014) and insertion of adverbials above ForceP presents problems for the necessary configuration in (1). I propose that the cartography of (1) is a bit too rigid for Ibibio, at least regarding these categories.
The processing of morphologically complex words is a matter of continued interest and debate in the field of linguistics. Recent research has provided increasing evidence that words are morphologically decomposed during visual word recognition; however, precisely when morphemes are activated during the time course of word recognition, and which word types undergo morphological decomposition remain a matter of debate. The extent to which the process of morphological decomposition interacts with and is modulated by semantic relationships, orthography, lexical status, first or second language, and experimental conditions (such as modality of stimulus presentation) is relevant to current research. The current study seeks to investigate the effects of semantic transparency, orthographic overlap, and morphological status in the mental lexicon (i.e. whether a word is argued to have a morphologically complex repre