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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: The Swahili Object Marker: Syntax, semantics and mythology
Author: Steve Nicolle
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Canada Institute of Linguistics
Linguistic Field: Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: Swahili
Abstract: The object marker in Swahili is generally described as obligatory with human coreferents, in both descriptive and prescriptive grammars of the language. I show that it is not in fact obligatory (aside from certain grammatical constructions in which the object marker functions as grammatical object), but rather that its frequent occurrence arises from the fact that it indicates a high degree of salience, which is a characteristic associated with human referents more than with inanimate referents. I account for the syntactic behaviour of the object marker using Lexical Functional Grammar.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: In: H. E. Wolff & O. D. Gensler (eds.) Proceedings of the World Congress of African Linguistics, Leipzig 1997. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe. Pp. 679-689. ISBN 3-89645-124-3


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