New fieldwork in SiSwati, a Southern Bantu language, shows that its argument structure is characterized by several valence-changing operations consistent with findings in related Bantu languages, including Kiswahili, Chichewa, and Kindendeule. This paper assesses how some of these operations, namely applicatives, causatives, passives, and reciprocals, affect valence and argument assignment in SiSwati. My findings indicate that thematic roles are assigned not to lexically specified noun phrases, but to pronominal verb affixes (extensions), which may be coindexed with postverbal noun phrases. Baker, Johnson, & Roberts’ (1989) theory of the passive morpheme as an argument is used as a basis for my analysis.
7:30 - 8:00pm
Presented at: Georgetown University Round Table (GURT) 2013