Tugen word order a minimalist perspective
This thesis embarked on the quest for the basic word order in Tugen within the Minimalist Program. Tugen is classified as one of the dialects within the Kalenjin macro-language with a VSONOS word order. Earlier attempts at the typology of languages by Greenberg (1963) proposed languages with VSONOS word orders as having SVO as the alternative word order. Work on related dialects by Creider (1989) within the Extended Standard Theory analysed Nandi as having SVO as the basic word order with VSONOS being derived from the basic word order. The Minimalist Program gives prominence to the role of morpho-syntactic features of the verb phrase in the determination of word order. The inflectional features of agreement subject, agreement object, tense and aspect together with the derivational features such as the benefactive, passive, antipassive, instrumental/locative etc determine the number and ordering of heads within the structure. These features have a relation of head- head with the arguments having a relation of spec-head. The verb moves through each of the heads to check for the relevant features through the Principle of Feature-Checking. Feature checking therefore forces verb movement. The various arguments move to the relevant specifier positions for case checking. The Principle of Full Interpretation ensures that all the features of sentence are checked and no extra features or steps are allowed in the derivation of a sentence. In Tugen the feature of tense which heads the verb phrase is responsible for the verb-initial word order unlike in verb-second languages where agreement subject heads the verb phrase.This thesis also analysed the role of discourse-pragmatic features of topic and focus in Tugen word order. Topic which is readily available information is presented in Tugen by pronominal arguments while focus which is new information or topics which are re invoked or emphasized are represented by lexical and pronominal arguments. The thesis found out that the Tugen verb heads the sentence with a VO as the basic word order. VSO word order is the default fous word order in isolated sentences with VOS occuring in constructions with focus. Tugen marks case by the use of tone and is a marked nominative language. The discourse-pragmatic aspects of topic and focus changes the word order from the basic VO to SVO, VSO and VOS.The analysis of the various word order shows that Tugen is pragmatically a topic-comment language. The Minimalist Program (1995) was adequate in guiding the problem under investigation. the interplay of syntax and pragmatics with feature checking is responsible for the basic word order being VO.