Number marking in Dagara and French

A comparative study


  • Alain N. Hien Tohoku University



Dagara, French, number marking, head movement, multiple Agree


This paper examines how number is marked in Dagara (Gur, Nige-Congo) and French. It argues that number occupies a syntactic position in Dagara and French and that the difference between the two languages resides in the syntactic operation through which number is marked. Following previous studies, the paper mentions that the status of number in Dagara and French can be assumed to be similar to that in English and that the difference among the three languages is the operation involved in number marking and the syntactic position of number in the structure of nominal phrases. This difference is responsible for the morphological manifestation of number on all the constituents of a nominal phrase in French but on only one constituent in Dagara and English. Besides, the paper claims that the difference between Dagara and English in number marking is in the syntactic position of number and that this difference explains why the plural marker is always on nouns but not on adjectives in English. In contrast, nouns do not take the plural marker in the presence of an adjective in Dagara.


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