Definiteness in the Zarma determiner phrase

  • Waheed Ayisa Jayeola
Keywords: definite determiner; adjective; functional head; determiner doubling; constituent order


Adjectives in definite Determiner Phrases of Zarma, a Nilo-Saharan language trigger an additional (suffixed/base-merged) lexical determiner; in the event of adjectives modifying nouns, definite determiners can occur with either the nouns or the adjectives or both. In all of these cases, no different readings obtain. Structured interviews were conducted with Zarma native speakers to collect the data for this study. I analyse the phenomenon as a case of definite determiner doubling which does not bear on any form of agreement relations. I further suggest that definite determiner and its subsets – numeral, demonstrative, and quantifier do not overlap. However, each of these can occur alongside adjectives within the DP. Consequently, I consider the adjective as an exponent of the adjunct category. Based on Abney’s DP-Hypothesis and the restrictive theory of the Minimalist Program, the paper argues that the asymmetry in the surface realizations of elements/constituents within the Zarma DP is the effect of movement.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502