Split Intransitivity in Kalanga
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This paper examines the intransitive verb class in Kalanga, a minority language predominantly spoken in the southwestern parts of Zimbabwe. The paper focuses on split intransitivity, a linguistic concept that describes the division of intransitive verbs into two subclasses — unaccusative verbs and unergative verbs. Split intransitivity, also known as unaccusativity, was first formulated by Perlmutter (1978) under what he termed the Unaccusative Hypothesis (UH). According to the Relational Grammar (RG) framework within which split intransitivity was first investigated, the single Noun Phrase (NP) of an unaccusative verb patterns like an object of a transitive verb while the single NP of an unergative verb patterns like the subject of a transitive verb. This study tries three tests for split intransitivity in Kalanga, namely the -ik-, -is- and –il- verbal extensions. Some sentences which use the three verbal extensions were selected from a large corpus of Kalanga data and analysed. Kalanga speaking research assistants provided other sentences which they constructed using the three verbal extensions. The results of the study show that verbs that take the –ik- and the –il- verbal extensions are unergative. To a large extent, unaccusative verbs do not take the two verbal extensions. It is also demonstrated that the causative extension –is- is an unreliable test for intransitivity in Kalanga since it produces grammatical sentences when used with both kinds of intransitive verbs, including with transitive verbs.
Additional Citation InformationKangira, Jairos. ''Split Intransitivity in Kalanga.'' Zambezia 31.1 (2004): 46-61.
University of Zimbabwe Publications