Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Pashto Monotransitives: A Minimalist Account of Structural Case and Argument Structure

Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Pashto Monotransitives: A Minimalist Account of Structural Case and Argument Structure

Article excerpt


Structural Case2 assignment refers to the Case of a nominal with reference to its position in a clause. It tries to find answer to the question that a noun or a pronoun, when occupying different positions in a clause, can have different morphological forms. Morphologically, Pashto monotransitives show nominativeaccusative case forms in the present and future tenses, and ergative-absolutive case pattern in the past tense:

This paper tries to explain structural Case assignment in such constructions. We propose that ^-feature agreement between the functional head, T, and a nominal results in nominative Case assignment to that nominal, while

This paper is laid out as follows. Section 1 introduces the topic. It chalks out the two directions in which the research will progress, namely, structural Case assignment and derivations/ structures for monotransitives in Pashto. Section 2 gives a very brief account of the mechanisms/ agencies that have been proposed/ suggested for the assignment of structural Case in the minimalist program. Also, this section briefly dilates on the history of case as it has been studied among Pashto grammarians. Section 3 is related to monotransitive verbs in Pashto. Section 4 describes structural Case assignment in Pashto monotransitives in the present tense. Section 5 is related to structural Case assignment in the past tense. Here the relation between Voice and past tense in Pashto has been suggested, thus paving the way for introduction of Voice functional category, and at the same time explaining the nature of split-ergativity in Pashto. Section 6 describes structural Case assignment in the future tense monotransitive constructions. Section 7 concludes this paper.

Structural Case in the Minimalist Program and Pashto Language

Interest in different morphological forms of nouns and pronouns, as is shown by the dozens of names coined for different case forms, has always been there. This resulted in a jumble of names, very difficult to master and to keep track of, owing to the treatment of case along syntactic, semantic, and morphological dimensions at the same time. In the generative era, especially starting with government and binding (GB) model, a certain amount of clarity was introduced in the arena of case by separating structural Case from 0-roles. The minimalist program went a step further by concentrating more on the different mechanisms/ techniques responsible for structural/ abstract Case assignment, notwithstanding the fact that the issue of assignment had also been there during the GB era.

Many mechanisms, during the minimalist era, have been proposed to deal with the assignment of structural Case to nomináis. Some of them are: agreement in terms of features between functional categories (T, u>, n, and D) and a nominal results in assigning structural Case to that nominal (Schütze (1997), Chomsky (2000, 2001, 2005, 2006), Carstens (2001), Bejar (2003), Tanaka (2005), Alexiadou & Anagnostopoulou (2006), Bobaljik & Branigan (2006), Richardson (2007), Legate (2008), Baker (2008, forthcoming), Baker & Vinokurova (2010)), structural Case is an uninterpretable tense feature on the relevant DP (Pesetsky & Torrego, 2001), mood and modality are responsible for the assignment of Case (Aygen, 2002), that, in one way or another, aspect assigns Case (Itkonen (1976), Ramchand (1997), Arad (1998), Kiparsky (1998), Torrego (1998), Svenonius (2001, 2002), Kratzer (2004)), and, Case is licensed by location and person (Ritter & Wiltschko, 2009 ). …

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