Kwaku Osei-Tutu -- A Formal Syntactic Analysis of Complex-Path Motion Predicates in Ghanaian Student Pidgin (GSP).pdf (5.55 MB)

A Formal Syntactic Analysis of Complex-Path Motion Predicates in Ghanaian Student Pidgin (GSP)

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posted on 15.08.2019 by Kwaku O A Osei-Tutu
This dissertation provides a formal syntactic analysis of complex-path motion predicates in Ghanaian Student Pidgin (GSP) – an English-lexified expanded pidgin spoken by (mostly male) students in Ghanaian high schools and universities – within the Generative Constructivist framework. The data for the study was collected from three speakers with an instrument consisting of a battery of animated video-clips designed to elicit and contrast the following set of parameters that correspond to the various subcomponents of a motion event – path, telicity, result and agentivity. With regard to the path subcomponent, the dissertation found that GSP is able to express the 3-D vectorization of the path in motion predicates via verbal morphology in Serial Verb Constructions – a proposal which had already been argued by some earlier researchers (Benedicto, Cvejanov, & Quer, 2008; Benedicto & Salomon, 2014; Zheng, 2012). On the issue of the Telicity subcomponent, this dissertation follows in the footsteps of Borer (2005) who argues (among other things) that an event is telic when the functional projection, AspQ, is assigned range by a subject-of-quantity internal constituent. However, where this dissertation forges new ground is in proposing that, in motion predicates, it is not the internal constituent that assigns range to Aspq, as usually assumed, but rather the reaching of an endpoint (which obtains in GSP as the reach substructure). Additionally, the dissertation also shows that this is only compatible with a reachable (i.e. non-projective) XPloc – a connection made possible by analyzing the internal structure of the XPloc along the lines of Svenonius, 2008, 2010). The chapter on the Resultative subcomponent shows that the Resultative substructure (unlike some prevailing analysis, e.g. Ramchand, 2008) is independent of Telicity. Finally, with regard to agentivity, the dissertation makes a crucial discovery about the structural difference between initial contact and continuous contact agentives – i.e. the additional functional projection of a grammacticalized make (present in initial contact agentives, but absent from continuous contact agentives) which signals the separation of the figure from the agent.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy



Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Elena E. Benedicto

Additional Committee Member 2

Mary Niepokuj

Additional Committee Member 3

Shaun Hughes

Additional Committee Member 4

Elaine Francis



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