Morphosyntactic variation in Bantu: The case of Setswana

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Keywords:

Bantu, locative inversion, microvariation, diminutives, object marking, parameters, Setswana, morphosyntactic variation, comparative Bantu

Abstract

Within the context of microvariation in Bantu, three processes are examined in Setswana – object marking, inversion constructions and diminutive marking. Setswana morpho-syntactic structures for these constructions present instances that distinguish Setswana from Eastern Bantu languages and yet also cases of similarity with patterns more commonly attested in Eastern rather than Southern Bantu languages. Using a comparative-parametric approach Setswana is shown to pattern with Southern Bantu in its default agreement and diminutive marking patterns while its flexibility in allowing multiple object markers with free ordering is more closely related to Eastern Bantu, suggesting complex historical patterns of contact.

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Published

2023-12-17