M.Phil. Dissertations



Tense and the Epistemic Modal in Dakkhani and Hindi-Urdu

A Parametric Account

Naila Iffat
CIEFL, Hyderabad



The aim of this research is to describe and explain a parametric variation between Dakkhani and Hindi-Urdu (HU) with regard to the epistemic modal and tense. In HU, the epistemic modal hoogii and Tense (+/-Past) do not co-occur (*Siimaa hăsii thii/hε hoogii), whereas, in Dakkhani, a variant of HU, the epistemic modal hũgii (counterpart of hoogii ) co occurs with the (Past) Tense auxiliary thii (Siimaa hăsii thii hũgii).

I first introduce the notion of parameters and functional categories and explain two proposals concerning parametric variation, by Cinque (1999) and by Giorgi and Pianesi (1997). I also propose an analysis of tense in HU and elucidate its tense structures using Hornstein (1990). We then introduce the epistemic modal hoogii in HU and its counterpart in Dakkhani and bring to light its co-occurrence with (Past) Tense. The tense structures of modal sentences are also elucidated.

It is shown that neither of the proposals (Cinque and Giorgi and Pianesi) can adequately account for the parametric variation and posit a new functional head, Modalgeneric[+past], for Dakkhani, and propose a re-ordering of its functional heads. It is proposed that there are two thiis in Dakkhani; a (Past) tense auxiliary, and a generic past modal corresponding to the Modalgeneric[+past] head that is postulated, which co-occurs with (Past) Tense.

The study concludes by suggesting that parametric variation might be a result of change in the ordering of the functional heads instantiated by a language.




Issues and interpretation of Anaphor in Ao Mongsen

University of Delhi, Delhi



This dissertation provides a preliminary account of some salient issues in the distribution and interpretation of anaphors in Ao-Mongsen (henceforth Mongsen), a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the Ao tribe of Nagaland, and, in the process, contributes to the research on Mongsen.

Mongsen has one complex and one simplex anaphor. The simplex anaphor can be further divided into two types: imda and the pronoun pa. The simplex anaphor imda that does not permit long distance binding is interesting, as this goes against the universal claim that simplex anaphors permit long-distance binding. (Reinhart 1993, Cole, Hermon and Sung 1990). However the pronoun pa can occur as a long distance anaphor. The pronoun pa obeys both Principle A and B of Binding Theory. This justifies the conclusion that a pronoun in this language can be treated as an anaphor. To account for the locality conditions on a pronoun, the thesis argues that like any simplex anaphor it can undergo head movement.

For the analyses of the two simplex anaphors the theories advanced by Reinhart and Reuland (1993) and Lidz (2001) were applied. Based on Lidz, the simplex anaphor pa has been termed a near-reflexive which does not require complete identity with their antecedent unlike imda, a pure-reflexive. In this thesis, I also examine the role of a benefactive marker in Ao that affects the binding possibilities of a pronoun as long-distance anaphor in significant ways; the verbs that take the anaphor imda fall into either those that select it only as anaphor or either as anaphor/ emphatic. Unlike in the case of many South Asian languages it was found that scrambling of an anaphor alters the antecedent-anaphor relations. Principle B, is furthermore, found to be inadequate to account for pa.