Interrogative Projections in Yoruboid Languages

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Ilọri, J.F.
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Publication of the West African Linguistic Society (WALS). University of Vienna, Austria
Studies on split-CP hypothesis and the role of information structure in the syntax of the left periphery have broadened understanding of the CP layer and the various structural projections available there (Rizzi 1997, 2001; Benincà 2001, 2002; Bošković 2002; Aboh 2004, 2007; etc). However, the question of the fine details of how these structures project in particular languages and language groups/families still remains debatable particularly in the context of question formation strategies and the scope and meaning interaction of focus and interrogative marking elements employed to encode such information. This paper examines the projections of interrogative constructions in Yoruboid* languages, a subgroup of Defoid-Kwa languages spoken in Central and Southern Nigeria comprising Yorùbá, Ígálà ki i (Akinkugbe 1976, 1978; Omamor 1976; Ilori 2010; Omachonu 2007, 2011; among others). It provides syntactic and semantic evidence to show that focus and interrogative (Inter) heads though somehow knitted in these languages are separately projected and differentiable. It shows that the somewhat knitted interaction of focus and Inter in content question is better understood in the light of the more structurally explicit polar and non-operator based content questions found in the languages. The paper concludes that content question operators are not interrogative heads but some kind of nominal words that interpret the focus of the interrogative force.
Scholarly article
Ilori, J. F. 2017. ‘Interrogative Projections in Yoruboid Languages’. Journal of West African Languages 44 Issue 1, pages 1-21. Official Publication of the West African Linguistic Society (WALS). University of Vienna, Austria