Browsing by Author "Msaka, Peter Kondwani"
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- ItemA minimalist analysis of obligatory reflexivity in Chichewa(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-04) Msaka, Peter Kondwani; Oosthuizen, Johan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study deals with the phenomenon of obligatory reflexivity in Chichewa, a language belonging to the Bantu family. Obligatory reflexivity occurs in constructions where a pronominal element – e.g. the reflexive marker (RFM) -dzi- in the verbal complex in Chichewa – is referentially dependent on some other expression in the sentence, its antecedent. Constructions of this type have not received systematic attention in the literature on Chichewa syntax, except in the works of Mchombo (1993, 2004, 2007). The first objective of the study is to fill this empirical gap by providing a detailed description of the different types of construction in which obligatory reflexivity is found in Chichewa. The second objective is to provide an analysis of the relevant facts within the broad framework of Minimalist Syntax (e.g. Chomsky 1995, 2000; Hornstein, Nunes & Grohmann 2005; Radford 2009). More specifically, the study seeks to determine whether the recent minimalist approach to the analysis of obligatory reflexive constructions put forward by Oosthuizen (2013), the so-called Nominal Shell Analysis (NSA), provides an adequate framework for analysing reflexive constructions in Chichewa. The analysis that is set out in this study focuses on three types of reflexive construction, namely verbal object reflexives, infinitival verbal reflexives, and infinitival nominal reflexives. It is argued that an analysis that incorporates the core hypotheses and devices of the NSA can provide a proper description and explanation of the facts of obligatory reflexivity as reflected in these three types of construction. In particular, it is claimed that such an analysis can account for the establishment of a coreferential relationship between the RFM -dzi- and an antecedent, without requiring any special devices or devices that are incompatible with the basic assumptions of the minimalist approach to linguistic inquiry. In brief, according to the analysis, the RFM -dzi- and its antecedent are initially merged into a light noun phrase, nP, with the RFM representing the functional n-head of this phrase. In this configuration, the coreferential relationship between the antecedent and -dzi- is established when the antecedent provides the RFM with φ-values (i.e. values for the grammatical features person, number and noun class). In the course of the discussion, several proposals are also put forward in connection with other, related aspects of Chichewa syntax, including the agreement relationship between the subject/object and their respective markers in the verbal complex.
- ItemNominal classification in Bantu revisited : the perspective from Chichewa(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-12) Msaka, Peter Kondwani; Biberauer, Theresa; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The present study focuses on the phenomenon of noun class and agreement systems in Chichewa, a Bantu language spoken in some parts of Eastern and Southern Africa. Noun classification is a strong areal feature of Bantu languages, however it remains one of the less well understood phenomena in this family (see i.a. Maho, 1999, chap. 6; Mchombo, 2004: 3; Katamba, 2006: 120). The generally accepted views about this phenomenon centre on the noun-class framework associated with Bleek (1862, 1869) and Meinhof (1899, 1906, 1932) – henceforth referred to as the Bleek-Meinhof system. The major problem with this system lies in the nature of the assumptions that are made regarding the principles underlying the classification system. In terms of the Bleek-Meinhof system, it is assumed that modern-day Bantu noun-class systems can all be understood as being based on a set of reconstructed noun prefixes. If we consider these modern-day systems, however, it emerges that these noun prefixes are not found on every noun and also not in every noun class. This is a distribution pattern that has been argued to have arisen due to language change, which has distorted the original regular morphological and semantic basis of the classes. The present study is centrally concerned with Chichewa, a language whose present-day noun class system poses numerous challenges to the traditional Bleek-Meinhof system. I argue that this latter system can in fact be shown to have been constructed on the basis of a partial dataset. Drawing on a carefully sampled dataset from the Chichewa monolingual dictionary, I outline how many nominal classifications can be shown to be problematic if we adopt the Bleek-Meinhof system. Clearly setting out these facts, constitutes the thesis’ descriptive objective. With the description in place, the second goal is to propose a novel noun-class system that is plausible from a child language acquisition perspective. I propose an agreement-based approach which classifies all expressions in the dataset according to the agreement markers that they control on adjectives, numerals, verbs, etc. Having taken this approach, I demonstrate that we can identify twelve agreement classes (ACs) in Chichewa, with each AC including a wide range of expressions, some of which are non-nominal in nature. In this regard, I propose two subsystems within the agreement classification system, one an agreement-based noun-class (ANC) subsystem and the other a general agreement class (GAC) subsystem. On the one hand, I will argue that in Chichewa, the ANC system has a primarily semantic basis, which gives rise to two super-noun classes, one animate/agentive and the other non-agentive/inanimate. The inanimate/non-agentive is further subcategorised on a phonological basis, taking into account the word-initial element, into six other classes. The GAC, on the other hand, is triggered by on at first sight rather miscellaneous group of expressions, some of which have not traditionally been associated with nominal expressions such as complementiser phrases (CPs), prepositional phrases (PPs), and also underspecified agreement triggers. I also argue that the proposed underlying principles of the Chichewa ANC and GAC systems are at the core of various grammatical structures and language acquisition processes observed crosslinguistically.