The RANDOM: a striking correlation in Bantu object marking

Vortragende(r) Jenneke van der Wal
Institution(en) (Leiden University)
Datum 05.05.2022
Uhrzeit 16:00 Uhr
Ort Online (see below)


Many Bantu languages, spoken in sub-Saharan Africa, allow object marking on the verb:

Bembe (D54, Iorio 2014: 103)

(1)     Twa-bo-h-ile                       batu         (bokyo).    2.people
         ‘We gave it to people.’

But object marking varies across Bantu, along five parameters. Two of these parameters we investigate more closely in this talk: 1. Symmetry: can either object in a ditransitive be marked? 2. Doubling/non-doubling: can object marking co-occur with the object NP? Combining these parameters for 75 Bantu languages reveals a gap: there are no asymmetric languages with non-doubling object marking:

(2)       Relation between Asymmetry and Non-Doubling Object Marking (RANDOM)

            All non-doubling languages allow symmetric object behaviour.

            Languages without symmetric object behaviour always allow doubling.

In the talk, I explain how a featural typology of object marking can account for the RANDOM, taking into account acquisition and the consequences for diachronic change.

For Zoom link, please write to Zorica Puškar-Gallien.