Samba Kane

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Fellowship Year(s): 2022
Language: French , Language: Pulaar
Abstracts: This paper explores the verbal system and more particularly the perfective aspect of the Pulaar language which belongs to the Niger-Congo / North-Atlantic language family. In Pulaar, tense, aspect, negation, and voice are all encoded through verbal affixation. I show in this paper that the perfective aspect while informing about the completion of an event also encodes tense information. In the absence of an overt tense marker, I argue for a null tense head that carries a recent past tense feature. Considering the Fixed and Universal Hierarchy of Functional Heads Hypothesis (Cinque 1999) and the Mirror Principle (Baker 1985), I argue for verb movement using evidence from adverb adjunction and from the order of affixation of the perfectíve -ii, negation -aa and distant past -no morphemes. Moreover, I consider for comparative purposes the imperfective aspect and the Toore variety of Pulaar, highlighting differences concerning allomorphy and ordering of the perfective marker -ii. Following Alexiadou et al. (2015), I end with a discussion of voice and suggest that Pulaar provides evidence for an expletive voice head (-ma) that appears in middle/passive voice and anti-causative contexts, supporting the idea that voice alternation is responsible for the causative/anti-causative verbal variation found cross-linguistically.

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