Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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The article analyzes the expression of understood objects in Somali. There is no object pronoun of 3rd person in Somali; this gap is usually interpreted as a “full Ø”, which saturates the valency of a transitive verb and forces a reading with an anaphoric object. The article shows that this is empirically incorrect: in certain configurations, Somali transitive verbs admit either an anaphoric or a generic reading even in the absence of either an object NP or a non-null pronoun. In order to ensure a generic-object reading, Somali has further recourse to noun incorporation. The article explores the productivity of this strategy as a detopicalizing, backgrounding mechanism and argues that the overall generality of the anaphoric reading is the result of the obligatoriness of focus marking.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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