Comparative syntax of the South African Bantu Languages : complex predicates

Du Plessis, Jacobus A. (2013-09)


There are four complex predicates in the SA Bantu languages, i.e. predicates with copulative verbs, deficient verbs, the verbs thi/re and probability verbs. The last three complex predicates have been dealt with here. For the copulative verbs see i.a. The probability verbs are related to the English verb seem. It is a deficient verb in these languages which may appear with various complements, in some languages with up to ten different structures and in some cases they are also related to issues of comparison. The verbs thi/re (“say”) have been addressed with attention to its distribution, its complements, its agreement and specifically its use in expressions of time or duration. The third verb in a complex predicate is a deficient verb of which there are quite a number in these languages. They have to appear with a CP as complement. They refer to a variety of semantic interpretations such as duration in time (26 different times have been established) as well as other features such as the continuative, iterative, contrastive, completive, manner, obligation and habitual. Ten such semantic interpretations are thus possible with these deficient verbs.

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