Chapter 4 Syntax 2—Hierarchical Structure, Constituency and the Isolating Type

In: A Description of Papiamentu
Author:
Yolanda Rivera Castillo
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Abstract

This chapter introduces the relation between grammatical categories found in this language and the encoding of phrasal categories through inflectional and non-inflectional mechanisms. It provides several examples of sentences including these categories, and explains why Papiamentu fits into the isolating language type regarding some aspects of sentential structure but not regarding others. The first section describes the obligatory use of subjects in most sentence structures, and the absence of expletives in impersonal constructions. It compares Papiamentu with languages that have similar distribution of obligatory subjects—semi-null subject languages—such as German, Yiddish, Afrikaans, and some varieties of Dutch (Rizzi, 1986). Consequently, Papiamentu is a semi-null subject language. A description of subordinate clauses follows in Section 4.2. Passive sentences, which exhibit two alternate structures, one originating in Romance and the other in Dutch, are included in section 4.3. It ends with a brief description of DP/NP structure and VP s.

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