Coding Participant Marking

Construction types in twelve African languages

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  • Editor: Gerrit J. Dimmendaal1
  • Format: PDF
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • e-Book ISBN 9789027289612

Whereas Africa as a typological area is often associated with extensive verb morphology and verb serialization, this collection of studies shows that there is tremendous typological diversity at the clausal level. Verb serialization in the Khoisan area contrasts with extensive case-marking in languages of northeastern Africa, which also use converbs and light verb plus coverb constructions. Although the categorial distinction between nouns and verbs is generally clear in African languages, a number of them nevertheless provide intricate analytical challenges in this respect. Whereas some languages are strongly head marking at the clausal level, others manifest an interesting mixture of alternative strategies for the coding of participants. The analysis of information packaging, and related issues such as split ergativity, Differential Object Marking, and discourse-configurational properties also play a role in several contributions. The collection contains not only innovative analyses for the respective language families these languages belong to, but also material relevant for the current debate in theoretical linguistics concerning lexical specification as against construction-based approaches towards argument structure.

Subjects: Syntax; Typology; Other African languages; Semantics; Theoretical linguistics; Afro-Asiatic languages

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Cologne

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