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The role of givenness in Swahili reciprocals

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Title: The role of givenness in Swahili reciprocals
Author(s): Mwamzandi, Mohamed
Subject(s): Syntax Information structure Word order Swahili Reciprocals
Abstract: Cross-linguistic studies have shown that the felicity of sentences with non-canonical word can be explained if information structure is taken into consideration. I present evidence to show that Swahili reciprocal variants can be best explained by looking at the givenness level of reciprocal participants. I argue that the Simple Reciprocal whose participants occur in subject position is used when the referents of a reciprocal event have the same level of givenness, while the Discontinuous Reciprocal, whose participants occur in utterance initial and postverbal positions is used if the referents’ level of givenness is different. Using data from the Helsinki Corpus of Swahili, this analysis investigates these constructions within distinct verb categories, namely, conversation verbs and marry verbs.
Issue Date: 2012-12-12
Publisher: Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info: Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 2012: 58-80
Genre: Article
Type: Text
Language: English
ISSN: 0049-2388
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed: is peer reviewed
Rights Information: Copyright © 2012 Mohamed Mwamzandi
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-12-12

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