Comparative syntax of the South African Bantu Languages : derived verbs and transitivity in the Bantu languages

Du Plessis, Jacobus A. (2013-09)


There are thirteen derivational affixes in these languages of which only the reflexive is a prefix of a verb. Many of these affixes have no syntactic influence on the structure of clauses but they are only semantic changing affixes. Only those affixes which have some influence on the syntactic structure of sentences have been given some attention. The syntactic structures in which these derived verbs appear are related to the structures which are developing within the Minimalist program. Within these structures a new syntactic category has been added for each verbal affix. Thus, for instance with the applicative affix [-el-] a syntactic category “app” has been added as head of a category “applicative phrase” (APP). With each verbal affix such a category appears with various other syntactic categories as complement, or such complements may appear in other positions within the structure as for instance in the passive construction. All these constructions have also been semantically interpreted. Secial attention is also focused on causative alternation or causation where a category “cause” has been postulated as a possible solution to this alternation. The locative alternation as well as the locative category and verb classes with locatives has been examined with regard to transitivity. It has been found that Topicalization from Information structure is deemed to be necessary. Lastly, the verbal affixes may appear in combination with each other and two such combinations for these affixes have been examined. In each case the two affixes retain their specific categories, structures, complements and semantic interpretation.

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