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This research work examines the argument structure of the Urhobo Verb: using the Minimalist Approach, the various types of argument and the manner in which they are introduced in a sentence were described. The basic assumption is that Urhobo language is a potentail source of input for the determination of the predicate argument structure. The specific objectives are: to classify Urhobo verbs into the number of arguments a verb can take, explore the role of valency, and transitivity in the predicate argument structure of Urhobo, as well as relate thematic functions to argument structure in the Urhobo language. A thorough literature was reviewed of languages whose materials were accessible at the time of this work. The method of data collection was categorized into two main sources: primary and secondary data. The primary data refers to the information that were obtained using, oral interview, the secondary source refers to documented information obtained from library, internet, and other published materials. Finally, we discover that functional arguments are lexical items, which strictly subcategorize phrases in their syntactic environment. It was also a finding that Urhobo language is centered around the verbs, in most cases verbs are the basis for the expansion of Urhobo words, though nouns and adjectives and other word formation process contributes to the expansions of its vocabulary, words and sentences.


Title page

1.1       Background of the Study
1.1.1    Economy of Derivation Principle
1.1.2    Computational System
1.1.3    Checking
1.1.4    Sellout
1.1.5    Copy
1.1.6    Urhobo language and its people
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Research Questions
1.4       Objectives to the Study
1.5       Scope of the Study
1.6       Significance of the Study
1.7       Delimitation of the Study
1.8       Tone

2.0       Introduction
2.1       Theoretical studies
2.1.1    Arguments
2.1.2    Argument structure: An overview
2.1.3    Verbs Argument Alternation
2.1.4    Predication
2.1.5    Transitivity
2.1.6    Passivization
2.1.7    Thematic roles and functions
2.1.8    Case theory Nominative case Accusative case Dative case Genitive case Vocative case Ablative case
2.1.9    Case Assignment Tense Verb Preposition Agreement
2.1.10 Complementation
2.2       Empirical study
2.2.1    Maleficiary
2.3 Summary of literature Review
2.4       Theoretical framework

3.0       Introduction
3.1       Research Design
3.2       The Study Area
3.3       Method of Data Collection
3.4       Library Sources
3.5       Internet Sources
3.6       Method of data presentation

4.1       The Urhobo verb: A classification
4.1.1    Tonal classification of Urhobo verbs High tone class Low tone class
4.2       Valency and Argument Structure in Urhobo
4.2.1.   Mono-valent verbs
4.2.2    Di-valent verbs
4.2.3. Tri-valent verb
4.3       Thematic roles/grid in Urhobo
4.3.1    Agent
4.3.2    Patient
4.3.3  Experiencer
4.3.4    Benefactive
4.3.5    Instrument
4.3.6    Locative
4.3.7    Goal
4.3.8    Maleficiary
4.3.9    Motive
4.3.10  Force
4.4       Case Theory
4.4.1    Nominative Case
4.4.2    Accusative Case
4.4.3    Dative Case
4.4.4    Genitive Case
2.4.5    Vocative Case
4.4.6    Ablative Case

5.1  Summary of finding
5.1.1    Functional argument in the Urhobo Language
5.1.2 The relationship between Semantic classification in the Urhobo Language
5.1.3    The relationship between the argument structure in universal grammar and the Urhobo language
5.1.4    Valency and Argument Structure in Urhobo
5.1.5    Transitivity, intransitivity and argument structure in the Urhobo language
5.1.6    The relationship between verbs and argument in Urhobo
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendation

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1. I Background of the Study

The minimalist program is an attempt to situate linguistic theory in the broader cognitive science. Minimalism makes a case for an economical and elegant theory of syntax, which eliminates the rigors of convoluted analysis of the process of generating and interpreting linguistic structures. It claims that grammar is minimally complex and that it is a perfect system of optimal design.
Minimalism, according to Asher (1994), seeks to develop an account of linguistic universals that on the one hand, will not be falsified by the actual diversity of languages and, on the other, will be sufficiently rich and explicit to account for the rapidity and uniformity of language learning. Within the theoretical framework of minimalist program, linguistic expressions are generated by optimally efficient derivations that must satisfy the conditions that hold on the interface levels, the only levels of linguistic representation.
Chomsky (2001) posits that the interface levels provide instruction to two types of performance system: - articulatory- perception, and conceptual – intentional. He maintains that all syntactic conditions must express properties of these levels, reflecting the interpretive requirements of languages and keeping to very restricted conceptual resources. The minimalist approach to linguistic theory is formulated and progressively developed on the theory of principles and parameters.

Consequently, it avoids and redefines many terms of the earlier theories. The new terms which drive minimalist syntax includes the following: Economy of derivation principle, checking principle, computational system, spell out principle and copy.

1.1.1      Economy of Derivation Principle
Economy of derivation is a principle which states that movements i.e. transformations only occur in order to match interpretable with un-interpretable features. Chomsky (1995) gives an example of an interpretable feature using the plural inflection on regular English nouns e.g. ‘dog’. The word dogs, according to Chomsky (1995), can only be used to refer to several dogs, not a single dog, and this inflection contributes to the meaning, making it interpretable. Economy of derivation, according to Chomsky (1995), is the principle that grammatical structure must exist for a purpose, i.e. the structure of a sentence should not be larger or more complex than required to satisfy constraints on grammaticality. The three economy principles that have been most written about in the literature thus far are SHORTEST MOVE, PROCRASTINATE AND GREED.
Shortest move, in the words of Napoli (1996:394), “implies that a constituent must move to the first position that is the hierarchically close position of the right kind in an upward direction of the right kind from its source position”. Shortest move prevents movement from passing over an intervening node, whether that intervening node is lexically filled or empty. Thus, a verb could not move directly to AGRS, its tense features would not be checked and the derivation would crash in PF (phonetic form). Violations of shortest move can result in ungrammaticality even without comparing alternative derivations. Based on this, shortest move is believed not always to be a global filter.
Procrastinate tells us to prefer derivation that holds off on movement until after the spell out. In other words, a movement that does not affect PF is preferred to movements that do affect PF. The spell out will determine whether the verb and adverb will be inside the VP node. This depends on when head-to-head movement takes place. If in PF the V will not be inside the VP, it will precede.....

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