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|Title:||An Analysis of the Ndebele Passive Construction|
|Publisher:||University of Oslo|
|Abstract:||This dissertation explores two important issues in the analysis of the passive construction in Ndebele. The first is the syntactic properties of the passive construction in Ndebele. To this end, the dissertation uses the Lexical Functional Grammar’s daughter theory, Lexical Mapping Theory, to account for the argument structure of the Ndebele passive. It is our argument that Ndebele is unique by allowing active transitive verbs to undergo locative inversion. Blevins’ (2003) argument is also tested and it is our conclusion that Ndebele data presents a fresh challenge to the unaccusative hypothesis (UH) even after Blevins’ (2003) attempt to sharpen the distinction between passives and impersonals. Another test for the Lexical Mapping Theory is the occurrence of agentive objects in Ndebele which it cannot account for. It is noted, however, that this phenomenon is not unique to Ndebele but is also evident in French and Norwegian. It is further argued that some parameters such as the Asymmetrical Object Parameter perhaps need to be refined in view of the fact that Ndebele, like Shona (Matambirofa 2003), provides properties for both symmetrical and asymmetrical language type. It is thus argued that symmetry and asymmetry can be viewed as two extreme ends of a continuum, and that Ndebele leans more towards the symmetrical language type. Passivization is also noted to be a highly productive process in Ndebele, since it plays a major role in question sentences. The dissertation goes further to analyse the meaning of the passive construction in Ndebele. It is argued in this study that the passive construction has a meaning different from its active counterpart. The theory that is used to motivate the passive construction is the Cognitive Grammar approach. It is also argued that it is not enough to suppose that every active transitive sentence can be passivizable in Ndebele. It is argued that there are some object NPs that cannot be profiled as the subject of the passive construction. Syntactic transitivity alone is not a sufficient condition for passivization to take place. It is demonstrated that there are instances in Ndebele that the object NP cannot be passivizable and that the reason is two fold. Firstly, that semantically the transitive construction should portray a situation where there is interaction or energy transfer between human or animate participants with the object being clearly affected. The second rationale is that there should not be a part-whole relationship between the subject and object of the transitive construction, with the object NP being a sub-part of the subject NP. Passivizability is therefore not a matter of syntactic properties but very much dependent on the semantic transitivity.|
|Appears in Collections:||Dissertations (restricted access)|
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