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Phonological and syntactic phrasing in Bemba relatives

Kula, Nancy C and Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen (2007) 'Phonological and syntactic phrasing in Bemba relatives.' Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 28 (2). pp. 123-148. ISSN 0167-6164


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Tone as a distinctive feature used to differentiate not only words but also clause types, is a characteristic feature of Bantu languages. In this paper we show that Bemba relatives can be marked with a low tone in place of a segmental relative marker. We treat this low tone as a morpheme rather than as just triggering a change in tone pattern that can then be related to relativization. The low tone strategy of relativization, which imposes a restrictive reading of relatives, manifests a phonological phrasing that requires the head noun to be phrased together with the relative clause that it modifies as opposed to non-restrictives where this is not the case. The paper shows that the resultant phonological phrasing favours a head-raising analysis of relativization where the head noun is considered to be inside CP. Despite the syntactic use of the relative tonal morpheme we see that it is also subject to purely phonological constraints that results in its being unable to be used to mark headless relatives. This paper therefore highlights the phonology-syntax connection and shows that phonology can directly inform syntactic analyses. © Walter de Gruyter.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bemba language; syntax; clause; tone (prosody); head (syntax); relative clause; phonological phrase
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2015 13:21
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:30

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