Syntax and Semantics

The conjoint/disjoint alternation in Bantu

Jenneke van der Wal
Larry M. Hyman

This volume brings together descriptions and analyses of the conjoint/disjoint alternation, a typologically significant phenomenon found in many Bantu languages. The chapters provide in-depth documentation, comparative studies and theoretical analyses of the alternation from a range of Bantu languages, showing its crosslinguistic variation in constituent structure, morphology, prosody and information structure.

Jenks speaks at WECOL

November 9, 2021

Peter Jenks is an invited speaker at the 2021 Western Conference on Linguistics (WECOL) at Fresno State, taking place this weekend (November 13-14). His plenary talk is called "Rethinking the distinction between argument and wh-movement: Evidence from Tira." The conference is on Zoom and all are welcome to attend. The program is available here.

Congrats, Peter!

A theory of indexical shift

Amy Rose Deal

A comprehensive overview of the semantics and syntax of indexical shift that develops a constrained typology of the phenomenon across languages.

Niger-Congo linguistic features and typology

Larry M. Hyman
Nicholas R. Rolle
Hannah L. Sande
Emily C. Clem
Peter Jenks
Florian A. J. Lionnet
John Merrill
Nico Baier

In this chapter, we will outline the major phonological, morphological, and syntactic properties of Niger-Congo, paying attention especially to areas of particular typological interest. We will start by discussing two problems: (i) disagreement over what is Niger-Congo; (ii) linguistic features are rarely limited to Niger-Congo (except perhaps noun classes). Our attention will be particularly on the following topics: (i) Consonant systems, usual and unusual systems, e.g. implosives, labiovelars; (ii) vowel systems, especially ATR and nasal contrasts on vowels; (iii) tone and accent:...

In search of prosodic domains in Lusoga

Larry M. Hyman

According to Selkirk’s (2011) “match theory”, the mapping of syntactic structure onto prosodic domains is universal. What this means is that if a language chooses to implement the relation between syntactic- or phrase-structure in the phonology, certain syntax-phonology relations should be predictable (and others not possible). This potentially produces asymmetries, as in Luganda, where a verb forms a tone phrase with what follows (e.g. an object, adjunct, right-dislocation), but not with what precedes (e.g. the subject, adverbial, left-dislocation). The purpose of my talk is to...

Multiple marking in Bantoid: from syntheticity to analyticity

Larry M. Hyman

This paper addresses the mechanisms of change that lead from syntheticity to analyticity in the Bantoid languages of the Nigeria-Cameroon borderland area. I address the different strategies that are adopted as these languages lose applicative “verb extensions” found elsewhere in Bantu and Niger-Congo. I show that although historical recipient, benefactive, and instrumental applicative marking on verbs allowed multiple object noun phrases (send-APPL chief letter, cook-APPL child rice, cut-APPL knife meat), they have been replaced by adpositional phrases and/or serial verb...

CP Complements to D

Jorge Hankamer and Line Mikkelsen

Despite their apparent simplicity, the structure of DPs containing
“complement” CPs (what we will call DCs) has long been obscure.
One major strand of investigation has attempted to assimilate DCs to
(close) nominal apposition, implying that N and CP form a structural
unit that then combines with D. Danish has two kinds of DCs, a bare
DC with the superficial structure [D N CP] and a prepositional DC in
which the CP is encased in a PP. Exploiting clues provided by the
allomorphy of the definite morpheme, we argue that the bare and
prepositional DCs have very...

Forms and Functions of Backward resumption: The case of Karuk.

Charron (Sonny) Davis, Vina Smith, Nancy Super (nén Jerry), Peter Super Sr., Charlie Thom Sr., Line Mikkelsen

This article examines obligatory backward resumption in Karuk (kyh; isolate), a verb-final language
of Northern California, and argues that it is the result of conflicting word-order requirements.
This conceptual analysis is further developed within the chain-resolution framework of
Landau 2006, in which resumption is the result of partial deletion. The Karuk facts indicate that
partial deletion targets spellout domains and not phases, contra van Urk 2018. Examination of two
case studies from the literature and a reinterpretation of the Dinka resumption data discussed in

The Nanti reality status system: Implications for the typological validity of the realis/irrealis contrast

Lev Michael

This article describes the reality status system of Nanti (Arawak) and argues that it constitutes an instance of a canonical reality status system. The relevance of such a system is examined in the light of literature that casts doubt on the typological validity of reality status as crosslinguistic grammatical category. It is shown that reality status is an obligatory inflectional category in Nanti, and that the distribution of realis and irrealis marking across Nanti construction types hews closely to expectations based on notional understandings of “realis” and “irrealis”...