Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-6834
  • E-ISSN: 2211-6842
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This study charts variation in subject inversion constructions in Bantu languages. It distinguishes between seven types of inversion constructions: formal locative inversion, semantic locative inversion, instrument inversion, patient inversion, (clausal) complement inversion, default agreement inversion and agreeing inversion. Based on a set of nine surface variables, a matrix of inversion constructions is developed which identifies characteristics of the set of constructions overall as well as of each individual construction type. The distribution of the different inversion constructions is documented with reference to a sample of 46 Bantu languages, from which geographical and typological generalisations are drawn. For example, languages with instrument inversion or with patient inversion always have locative inversion (but not vice versa), or if a language has at least one inversion construction, it always has at least either default agreement inversion or agreeing inversion. Finally, underlying parameters potentially accounting for the variation are discussed, such as the status of preverbal locatives as DP or PP, the agreement parameter and the syntactic and thematic restrictions on the preverbal element.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): agreement
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