Active, passive and neuter-passive verb constructions in Oshindonga: Argument alternation and event structure properties

Shiwanda, Simon (2018-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study examines the argument alternations and event structure properties of active, passive and neuter-passive of various verb classes in Oshindonga and also to develop a more formal syntactic and semantics approach which is equally relevant in differentiating the passive from the neuter-passive. This study take into account the traditional aspectual semantic classification postulate in Vendler (1957) further developed in (Smith, 1997). These aspectual approaches are invoked for the reason that the two alternants in the neuter-passive and passive alternation in Oshindonga are associated with aspectual verb class differences. The syntactic decomposition approach is employed in order to provide a principled account for the phenomena in which arguments in passive and middles are assumed to be derived from the common detransitivisation base. The middle and passive variants are supposed not to represent each other in a deriviational relationship. This approach, however, assumes that the event structure of word meanings is constructed from two major elements; the eventive predicates indicating causation (CAUSE), action (ACT) and change of state (BECOME) and the other element is indicating idiosyncratic aspects (Beaver, 2012:332). The data contained in this study includes sentences constructed using various verb classes as proposed by Levin (1993), viz. verbs of change, verbs of communication, verbs of existence, experiencer verbs, verbs of contact, motion verbs, verbs of creation and weather verbs (cf. Du Plessis 1998). The findings of the study reveals that two types of alternations are identified in Oshindonga. These alternations are decided by the verb roots, and not by thier semantic classes. The first alternates comprise of the subject argument that appears with subject NPs. The second alternates, the subject argument NPs are not morphlogically marked, thus they appears with null subject. The findings of the present study demonstrate that in Oshindonga a single verb displays distinct aspectual behavior when used in passive and neuter-passive alternations, regardless of their common properties in terms of argument realization and alternations. The findings of the study further revealed that the classification of verbs roots in Oshindonga is semantic since different verbs classes are distinguished by the different properties of the events in their denotations. In addition, other sentence elements such as; tense aspects and predicate modifications play an important role in deciding the aspectual classes of the verb. However, this study has established that although some non-alternate verbs in Oshindonga such as pya, do not alternate, others such as pepa have satisfied the diagnostic test.

AFRIKAANSE OOPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die argumentasie-alternatiewe en gebeurtenisstruktuur eienskappe van aktiewe, passiewe en onsydig-passiewe eienskappe van verskeie werkwoorde in Oshindonga en ook om 'n meer formele sinaktiese en semantiese benadering te ontwikkel wat ewe belangrik is om die passiewe van die onsydig-passiewe te onderskei. In hierdie studie word rekening gehou met die tradisionele aspekte-semantiese klassifikasie postulaat in Vendler (1957) wat verder ontwikkel is deur Smith (1997). Hierdie aspeklike benaderings word aangevoer, omdat die twee alternatiewe in die onsydig-passiewe en passiewe alternasie in Oshindonga geassosieer word met aspek-werklike klasverskille. Die sintaktiese ontbinding benadering word aangewend om 'n beginselverklaring te gee vir die verskynsel waarin argumente wat in passiewe en middels uitgereik word van die gemeenskaplike detransitiviseringsbasis afgelei word. Die middel- en passiewe variante is veronderstel om mekaar nie in 'n afleidingsverhouding te verteenwoordig nie. Hierdie benadering veronderstel egter dat die gebeurtenisstruktuur van woordbetekenis uit twee hoofelemente opgebou word; die voorlopige voorspellings dui op veroorsaking (oorsaak), aksie (DAAD) en verandering van die staat (WORD/RAAK) en die ander element dui op idiosinkratiese aspekte (Beaver, 2012: 332). Die data wat in hierdie studie vervat is, sluit in sinne wat saamgestel is deur die gebruik van verskillende werkwoord kategorieë soos voorgestel deur Levin (1993), naamlik werkwoorde van verandering, werkwoorde van kommunikasie, werkwoorde van bestraan, ervare werkwoorde, werkwoorde van aanraking, bewegende werkwoorde, werkwoorde van skepping en weer werkwoorde (vgl. Du Plessis 1998). Die bevindings van die studie toon dat twee tipes alternatiewe in Oshindonga geïdentifiseer word. Hierdie alternatiewes word deur die werkwoordwortels bepaal, en nie deur hulle semantiese klasse nie. Die eerste tipe bestaan uit die vakargument wat voorkom met vak NP's. Die tweede tipe, die vak argument NP's is nie morflogies gemerk nie, dus verskyn hulle met nul onderwerp. Die bevindinge van die huidige studie toon aan dat in Oshindonga 'n enkele werkwoord afsonderlike aspektiewe gedrag toon wanneer dit in passiewe en neutrale-passiewe alternatiewe gebruik word, ongeag hulle algemene eienskappe in terme van argumentrealisering en afwisseling. Die bevindings van die studie het verder aan die lig gebring dat die klassifikasie van werkwoorde in Oshindonga semanties is aangesien verskillende werkwoord kategorië onderskei word deur die verskillende eienskappe van die gebeure in hulle denotasies. Weereens, ander sin elemente soos; gespanne aspekte en predikaat veranderinge speel 'n belangrike rol in die bepaling van die aspesuele klasse van die werkwoord. Hierdie studie het egter vasgestel dat alhoewel sommige nie-alternatiewe werkwoorde in Oshindonga soos “pya” nie afwissel nie, het ander werkwoorde soos “pepa” die diagnostiese toets bevredig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104214
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