Research Repository

Probing the interaction of language contact and internal innovation: four case studies of morphosyntactic change in Rangi

Gibson, Hannah and Marten, Lutz (2019) 'Probing the interaction of language contact and internal innovation: four case studies of morphosyntactic change in Rangi.' Studies In African Linguistics, 48 (2019). 63 - 92. ISSN 0039-3533

Gibson and Marten_Morphosyntactic change in Rangi_accepted version August 2018.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (720kB) | Preview


The Bantu language Rangi is spoken at the northern borderlands of Tanzania, where Bantu, Cushitic and Nilotic languages meet. In many regards , Rangi exhibits the morphosyntax typically associated with East African Bantu: SVO word order, an extensive system of agreement and predominantly head - marking morphology. However, the language also exhibits a number of features which are unusual from a comparative and typological perspective, and which may have resulted from language contact. Four of these features are examined in detail in this paper: 1) Verb-auxiliary order found in the future tense, 2) clause-final negation, 3) a three-way distinction in verbal deictic markers, and 4) an inclusive/exclusive distinction in personal possessive pronouns. These features are assessed with reference to three criteria: syntactic structure, lexical/morphological form and geographic distribution. The examination shows that two of the unusual features result from a combination of internal and external factors, while the other two appear not to be related to external influence through contact. The results of the study show the complex interaction between internal and external factors in language change, and the importance of investigating potentially contact-induced change in detail to develop a more complex and fine-grained understanding of the morphosyntactic process of innovation involved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bantu languages, Cushitic languages, language contact, morphosyntactic change, grammaticalisation, negation, word-order, auxiliary constructions, deictic particles, inclusive/exclusive distinction
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2018 13:17
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2019 18:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item