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The Order of Noun and Demonstrative in Bantu.

Abstract : In general Bantu languages have a head-before-dependent (HD) basic word order, leaving aside some exceptional languages such as Nen (A44). Nominal objects and adverbs follow the verb, there are prepositions and almost all adnominal modifiers follow their head noun. The only exception on clause level is the initial position of the subject, which is common in HD languages and which I will not account for here. Below clause level the most common exception is the sometimes optional prenominal position of demonstratives and some other words such as the word for 'other' in a number of Bantu languages. Note that languages for which a basic order can be recognised, such as the Bantu languages, allow to different extents pragmatically motivated departures from this basic order, especially on the level of the clause. Thus, occurrences of the nominal object before the verb, for instance, are likely to be found in texts, even if grammars do not mention them. Word order on lower levels tends to be much stricter crosslinguistically, even in so-called discourse configurational languages such as Russian. Many Bantu languages are exceptional in this respect in that they have a lot of freedom in the mutual ordering of postnominal modifiers (see below). This study is about the most notable exception of head-dependent serialisation below clause level: the prenominal position of demonstratives in a number of Bantu languages.
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Contributor : Mark van de Velde <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 1:57:37 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 11, 2020 - 9:52:02 AM


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Mark van de Velde. The Order of Noun and Demonstrative in Bantu.. Studies in African Comparative Linguistics with special focus on Bantu and Mande., Royal Museum for Central Africa, pp.425-441, 2005. ⟨halshs-00627353⟩



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