Reading: The syntax of the Vedda language


A- A+
Alt. Display


The syntax of the Vedda language


M. G. L. Ananda

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About M. G. L.
Department of English and Linguistics
X close


This paper is an inquiry into the syntax of the Vedda language from a generative syntactic perspective conducted in accordance with Noam Chomsky’s (1980-) Principles and Parameters (P&P) framework and under the cartographic approach (Rizzi 1997), (Cinque 1999). Its overall objective is to examine the Vedda language word order and configurationality, phrase structure, clause structure, anaphoric relations, negation and NegPs, Heads and Head positions, movement, Topic, Focus, and other relevant syntactic phenomena. Moreover, the author intends to develop a mechanism to document the Vedda language along with a comprehensive grammar compiled from a generative syntactic perspective, taking note of the historical sources, hybridization, dialectal varieties, and other related factors. The field research was carried out in the Dambana administrative division under the Uva Province of Sri Lanka where the Vedda settlements are officially located. The sample consisted of 05 Veddas who are native speakers of the Vedda language. The data were recorded during two field visits. The data analysis was carried out with attention to the syntactic phenomena mentioned above. The most important conclusions that could be arrived at during the study are; that despite the availability of many scrambling opportunities, the Vedda language remains configurational; that it does not allow certain word orders present in the Sinhala language; that it is strongly Head final as the Sinhala language; that it does not have an articulated CP or TP periphery; that their Neg marker serves a number of modal functions in addition to Neg marking; that both Focus and Wh are located in the Focus Head; and that on the whole, the syntax of the Vedda language largely aligns with the syntax of the Sinhala language.
How to Cite: Ananda, M.G.L., 2020. The syntax of the Vedda language. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 7(2), pp.15–46. DOI:
Published on 31 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed


  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus