I thank my colleagues Simon Donnelly, Jeff Guy, Stefan Ploch, Stephanie Rudwick and Nhlanhla Thwala for many helpful discussions and three anonymous reviewers for important comments and suggestions. I gratefully acknowledge the contribution of various mother tongue speakers, in particular Dudu Gama, Watson Lekalake, Hillary Modimoeng, and Nolutando Xate. A special thanks goes to Dori Posel for her help with this article.
On the relation between noun prefixes and grammaticalisation in Nguni relative clauses*
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2006
Volume 60, Issue 2, pages 220–249, August 2006
How to Cite
Zeller, J. (2006), On the relation between noun prefixes and grammaticalisation in Nguni relative clauses. Studia Linguistica, 60: 220–249. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9582.2006.00138.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2006
- Received August 19, 2004 Accepted January 18, 2005
Abstract. This paper discusses morphological and syntactic aspects of relative clauses in two related Southern Bantu language groups. In Sotho-Tswana, object relative clauses are formed by means of clause-initial relative complementisers which agree with the head noun. In contrast, object relatives in the Nguni languages are formed by means of relative concords which are attached to the relative clause predicate and express agreement with the subject. I suggest that the Nguni relative concords are the result of a grammaticalisation process in which early Nguni relative complementisers first turned into clitics and then into relative concords. On the basis of a detailed analysis of this process I further argue that the syntactic difference between Sotho-Tswana and Nguni relative clauses is correlated with a morphological difference between nouns in these languages.