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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2007, Vol. 38, No. 2, Pages 302-320
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2007.38.2.302)
© 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Amharic Relatives and Possessives: Definiteness, Agreement, and the Linker
Article PDF (160.44 KB)

Ouhalla's (2004) valuable discussion of relativized and possessed noun phrases in Amharic leaves a number of questions open. Foremost among these is the placement of the linker element -. Starting from an analysis of relative clauses and possessors as predicates of their “heads,” this article develops a syntax of complex noun phrases in Amharic that explains the raison d'être and placement of -, and also accommodates facts about definiteness marking and agreement in the Amharic complex noun phrase that have hitherto largely escaped attention or analysis. The analysis emphasizes the role of Predicate Inversion and head movement in syntax, and it confirms and extends the minimalist Agree- and phase-based approach to syntactic relationships.