Adebayo (2017) – Some diachronic changes in Yoruba grammar

Some diachronic changes in Yoruba grammar
Taofeeq Adebayo
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May 2017
The major assumption of this paper is that earliest written documents on Yoruba language may be a source of evidence for diachronic changes in the language. Using documents such as Crowther (1852) and Bowen (1858), some syntactic and phonological changes in the language are described via the formalizations of generative syntax and Optimality Theory in combination with assumptions from Historical Linguistics. A number of proposals are made for Yoruba pre-history based on the method of internal reconstruction. Using generative syntax to describe the diachronic data from Yoruba leads to a number of issues that concern some proposals in the theory. Some diachronic data are found to support Rizzi’s (1997) left periphery proposal. But a question that becomes pertinent from some other data concerns what the hierarchy is between the perfective aspect and the imperfective aspect. The paper finally shows that the combination of the methods of Historical Linguistics with those of generative theories to account for diachronic changes leads to greater theoretical refinement.

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Reference: lingbuzz/003468
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keywords: left_periphery, aspectual_hirarchy, yoruba_diachronic_changes, syntax, phonology