Belfast English and Standard English: Dialect Variation and by Alison Henry

By Alison Henry

The learn of comparative syntax in heavily comparable languages has yielded invaluable insights into syntactic phenomena--for instance within the research of the Romance languages--yet little comparative paintings has been performed on English dialects. this is often the 1st comparability of the syntax of Belfast English and traditional English, utilizing Chomsky's "Principles and Parameters"/Minimalist framework. Alison Henry analyzes a number of Belfast English structures and their common English opposite numbers to realize perception into either English syntax and syntactic concept usually. within the technique, she makes necessary facts on Belfast English on hand for the 1st time.

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142) BE/*SE I wonder where my glasses is. It seems that in structures like (140) and (141) the verb is agreeing with the wh-element; if this is again a case of agreement between the wh-element and AGRS (which has moved to C), then the subject cannot check Case in SPEC/AGRSP. Again, as we would predict, nominative Case-marked pronouns are impossible here. (143) a. *Where's they? b. Where are they? (144) a. *How's we doing? b. How are we doing? As with other alternations of this type, it is only nominative pronouns which are required to be in the canonical Case-checking position.

NP[e] is a book on the table. b. There is a book on the table. (46) a. *NP[e] is surprising that John won. b. It is surprising that John won. Second, there is no word order difference between the sentences with agreement and those without. In Arabic, which is a VSO language, agreement is obligatory in SVO sentences whereas non-agreement occurs in VSO sentences, as (47a and b) (from Mohammad 1989) indicate. (47) a. uu. the-boys-NOM came 3pm b. awlaad-u. came 3sm the-boys-NOM In these examples, it can be seen that the word order difference reflects non-raising of the overt subject out of VP where agreement does not occur.

Summarising the arguments in this section, then, we have proposed that singular concord verbs are in fact completely unmarked for agreement. They thus raise only as far as Tense. Their subjects raise to SPEC/Tense P, a position in which default Case may be checked. Pronouns and Singular Concord We touched briefly in the previous section on the occurrence of singular concord with pronoun subjects. Here, we look at this in more detail, addressing in particular the question of why some personal pronouns, those which are marked for nominative Case, do not occur with singular concord.

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