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Proto Bantu question words

Abstract : This paper proposes a typologically informed reconstruction of the Proto Bantu question words provisionally reconstructed in BLR 3 ( as °n(d)áí ‘who?’ and -í ‘what?’. I argue that the interrogative previously reconstructed as °n(d)áí has developed out of a selective interrogative ‘which one? (person or thing)’ and ultimately a locative interrogative construction *(í~ɩ́-)ndɩ́ yɩ̀ à yɩ́ ‘(it) is that who is where?’. Formally, the latter clause-level construction underwent univerbation and a subsequent formal reduction with occasional reinforcement by a postposed demonstrative root. The interrogative previously reconstructed as -í ‘what?’ is likely to originate in a locative interrogative *-yɩ́ ‘be where?’. An important conclusion is that no interrogative pronominal stems meaning ‘who?’ and ‘what?’ can be reconstructed for Proto Bantu.
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Contributor : Dmitry Idiatov <>
Submitted on : Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 11:04:48 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 22, 2019 - 1:48:26 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01933967, version 1



Dmitry Idiatov. Proto Bantu question words. Reconstructing Proto-Bantu Grammar, Nov 2018, Ghent, Belgium. ⟨halshs-01933967⟩



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