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The grammaticalisation of verb-auxiliary order in East African Bantu: from information structure to tense-aspect

Gibson, Hannah (2020) 'The grammaticalisation of verb-auxiliary order in East African Bantu: from information structure to tense-aspect.' Studies in Language. 757 - 799. ISSN 0378-4177

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Abstract

Bantu languages employ a combination of simple and compound verb forms to encode tense-aspect-mood distinctions. Compound constructions typically involve an auxiliary form followed by an inflected main verb. However, the six East African Bantu languages under examination in this paper exhibit a typologically and comparatively unusual construction in which the auxiliary appears after the verb. This paper presents a synchronic description of this word order and develops an account of its possible origins. It is proposed that the verb-auxiliary order originated from a verb-fronting construction which was used historically to convey predication focus. The account further corroborates the claim that the progressive aspect is an inherently focal category in Bantu and from a wider perspective, shows the interplay between the encoding of information structure and tense-aspect information.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bantu, grammaticalisation, word order, language contact, information structure
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2019 09:51
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2021 16:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24761

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