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Conference papers

The origin and use of a relative clause construction with passive morphology in Orungu (Bantu, Gabon).

Abstract : This paper provides an analysis of two relative clause constructions in the Gabonese Bantu language Orungu that are in complementary distribution. The conditioning of the choice between them is typologically interesting, in that it involves the syntactic relation, the thematic role and referential properties of the target of relativisation. The relative verb form of one of these constructions, which we call the O construction, has passive morphology. We argue that O relatives are the result of a reanalysis of the initial use of passivisation to relativise certain objects by promoting them to subject position, providing formal and semantic evidence that demonstrates that synchronically it is a separate relative clause construction that directly targets objects. This is a very rare type of change in relative clause constructions, which usually merely involves relative clause markers. However, the origin of O relatives is easily accounted for by the predictions of the accessibility hierarchy if we assume the prior existence of a discontinuity of the Toba Batak type, i.e. one in which positions that cannot be directly relativised are first promoted to a higher position on the accessibility hierarchy, from where they can be relativised.
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Contributor : Mark van de Velde <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 5:55:42 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 11, 2020 - 9:52:06 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01523735, version 1



Mark van de Velde, Odette Ambouroue. The origin and use of a relative clause construction with passive morphology in Orungu (Bantu, Gabon).. Syntax of the World's Languages VII, Aug 2017, Mexico, Mexico. ⟨halshs-01523735⟩



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