The structural category of past tense woon in Wolof

Christen Harris


This article investigates the structural distribution of the past tense morpheme woon in Wolof. In negative sentences the verbal suffix is excluded. Following Zribi-Hertz and Diagne 2002, two possible locations in which the feature +PST can be generated are identified: in the head of TP or in Spec of TP, realized as a verbal suffix and an adverb respectively. It is shown that the distribution of +PST is reversed between affirmative and negative contexts. A systematic approach involving contextual allomorphy and a weakened version of the No Lookahead Principle is applied to the Wolof data to explain the absence of the past tense suffix on the verb in negative contexts.

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Working Papers of the Linguistics Circle

EISSN: 1920-440X
ISSN: 1200-3344

University of Victoria