Syntactic properties of Ikalanga infinitives


  • Rose Letsholo-Tafila University of Botswana


infinitives, syntactic properties, nominal properties, verbal properties, categorial status


The infinitive has been quite topical in recent Bantu literature. The majority of Bantuists who have written on this topic sweepingly refer to all ku- forms as the ‘infinitive’ and contend that the infinitive has dual characteristics – clausal and nominal. This paper aims to investigate the types of ku-categories in Ikalanga and to determine whether they all display the same syntactic properties. Using tests from the literature, the paper established that ku-categories which are sweepingly termed ínfinitives’ actually belong to different categories – nominal, poss-ing, and infinitives themselves. The paper also determined that while all three categories identified in Ikalanga display clausal properties, only nominal and poss-ing types display nominal properties. In addition, the paper also demonstrated that while both nominal and poss-ing display nominal properties, they differ in some ways. The findings in this paper suggest that to refer to all ku-categories sweepingly as infinitives is misleading.


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