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Title: A syntactic analysis of Kinyarwanda applicatives
Authors: Ngoboka, Jean Paul
Keywords: African Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
Atlantic-Congo Languages
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
Abstract: "A syntactic Analysis of Kinyarwanda applicatives" is a study of the syntax of Kinyarwanda which focuses on applicatives. Applicatives are constructions in which the object of a preposition becomes the direct object of the verb through a grammatical function changing process. In such constructions, the verb bears a morpheme referred to as the applicative morpheme which turns an intransitive verb into a transitive verb and a transitive verb into a ditransitive verb. The derived object may perform various thematic functions, including those of instrument, beneficiary, goal, manner, reason, purpose and motive. The study provides a thorough description of different types of ditransitive applicatives in Kinyarwanda by examining the syntactic properties exhibited by both objects. In general Kinyarwanda may be classified as a 'symmetrical' language in which more than one object can exhibit direct object properties. This is true for instrumental, benefactive and manner applicatives. However, some applicatives in Kinyarwanda such as the locative applicatives are 'asymmetrical' in that only one object exhibits all the direct object properties. In my research I analyse Kinyarwanda applicatives within the framework of Principles-andParameters (Chomsky 1981, 1986a, b and subsequent work), more specifically the Government and Binding theory (Chomsky 1981). I base the discussion on three analyses that have been proposed in the literature of applicatives: Baker's (1988) preposition incorporation theory, Larson's (1988) double object construction analysis and Nakamura's (1997) account of object extraction in applicative constructions, which is based on Chomsky's (1995) Minimalist Program. The study shows that the above analyses account for some aspects of applicatives, but that there are certain facts that are not accounted for, which require a different analysis.
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