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The verb phrase in Kihema.

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"The Verb Phrase in Kihema" investigates a wide range of three different constructions, which have all been termed 'Grammatical Function Changing Processes' (GFCP), by Linguists, using data from Kihema (a Bantu language spoken in the northeastern district of Ituru). It focuses on those GFCPs, namely the causative, the applicative and the passive. On the one hand, Kihema causative constructions are the result of extending the verb by means of a derivational affix. This process has an impact on the argument structure of the verb. On the other hand, Kihema applicative constructions are the outcome of moving the preposition out of a prepositional phrase and incorporating it in the verb that governs it. Lastly, Kihema passive constructions result from the base verb losing its ability to assign accusative case and its failure to assign an external thematic role. Consequently, in passives, the former direct object moves to the syntactic subject position, where it receives nominative case. The thematic subject can only be realized inside a prepositional phrase. In these constructions, the verb bears morphemes such as -is- (for causatives), -ir- (for applicatives), and -w- (for passives). Causative and applicative morphemes have the ability to turn an intransitive verb into a transitive verb and a transitive verb into a ditransitive verb. The study provides data of different objects that appear with the verb in the Kihema verb phrase. It examines the syntactic properties exhibited by those objects. As a result, Kihema is classified as a 'symmetrical' language, since all postverbal objects in causative and applicative constructions exhibit direct object properties. However, the basic object in locative applicatives has some restrictions. In this research, I analyze causatives, applicatives and passives in Kihema within the framework of the Principles-and-Parameters theory (Chomsky, 1981; 1986a, 1986b) in particular, the following two theories have proven useful in my study: (i) Baker's (1988) analysis of causatives in terms of verb incorporation and his treatment of applicatives as preposition incorporation and (ii) Jaeggli's (1986) and Baker, Johnson and Roberts' (1989) theories of the passive. My study shows how these theories account for the three Kihema Grammatical Function Changing Processes.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2005.


Lendu language., Lendu language--Verb phrase., Theses--Linguistics.