Transitivity In Kalanga
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This thesis examines transitivity as a grammatical aspect of the Kalanga language. The investigation is done using two theoretical frameworks: Relational Grammar (RG) and Hopper and Thompson’s (1980) Transitivity Theory. RG theory is used to explain the difference between transitive and intransitive sentences on the basis of syntactic primitives called grammatical relations (GRs). Sentences that contain verbs that take the GR direct object are classified as transitive, while those that have verbs that cannot take this GR are intransitive. This study shows that making a clear – cut dichotomy between transitive verbs on one hand and intransitive verbs on the other hand using RG theory does not fully explain the complex phenomenon of transitivity. It is on this basis that this study also uses Hopper and Thompson’s (1980) Transitivity theory to explain transitivity as a matter of degee in Kalanga, not as a dichotomy as what RG does. The number of transitivity parameters the clause has on the High Transitivity (HT) column measures the degree of transitivity of that clause. A prototypical transitive sentence shows that it has all the 10 parameters in the HT column while a prototypical intransitive sentence scores negative values in the same column. In between the two poles is a range of clauses with varying degrees of transitivity, showing that there is a transitivity continuum. It is shown that high transitivity is a characteristic of storyline clauses of narratives. The study goes further to examine the intransitive verb group. It was found that Kalanga intransitive verbs can be split into unaccusatives and unergatives by using the following diagnostic tests. Unergative verbs can be used with both the potential verbal extension –ik– and the applied extension –il- while unaccusative verbs cannot. Also, unergative verbs can undergo locative inversion both in the active and passive forms while unaccusative verbs can only do so in the active form, and transitive verbs only in their passive form. These tests make it possible to place verbs in the three classes of transitives, unergatives and unaccusatives. The findings of this study shed more light into the grammar of the Kalanga language in particular and the domains of syntax and semantics in general.