Nominal licensing in caseless languages
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 14:32 authored by Michelle Sheehan, Jenneke van der Wal
This paper provides evidence for a kind of nominal licensing (Vergnaud licensing) in a number of morphologically caseless languages. Recent work on Bantu languages, has suggested that abstract Case or nominal licensing should be parameterised (Diercks 2012, Van der Wal 2015a). With this is mind, we critically discuss the status of Vergnaud licensing in six languages lacking morphological case and agreement. While Luganda appears to systematically lack a Vergnaud licensing requirement, Makhuwa more consistently displays evidence in favour of it, as do all of the analytic languages that we survey (Mandarin, Yoruba, Jamaican Creole and Thai). We conclude that, while it seems increasingly problematic to characterise nominal licensing in terms of uninterpretable/abstract Case features, we nonetheless need to retain a (possibly universal) notion of nominal licensing, the explanation for which remains opaque.
Publication titleJournal of Linguistics
PublisherCambridge University Press
- Accepted version