AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Topics in Sesotho Control Verbs

by Mantoa Smouse

Institution: University of Florida
Department: Linguistics
Year: 2010
Keywords: control, morpho, referential, verb; Linguistics
Record ID: 1866229
Full text PDF: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0020103


Topics in Sesotho Control Verbs This study examines the phenomenon of forward complement control in Sesotho using Principles and Parameters Theory of syntax as a theoretical framework. It explores the interaction between syntax, morphology, and semantics through an examination of the role played by argument-structure changing verbal morphology (verbal extensions). This study suggests that this argument-structure changing verbal morphology is central to understanding the different syntactic behaviors observed across and within verb classes and to the study of control in Bantu languages. Forward complement control is a relation of obligatory co-indexation between the subject or object of the matrix clause and the subject of the subordinate clause. The subject of the subordinate clause is the null PRO which is understood as having the same reference as the pronounceable subject or object of the matrix clause. Sentence (1) illustrates control in Sesotho. (1)[Mmei o -kgothaletsa bana j [PRO *i/j ho - bala dibuka]] 1.mother 1.SM - encourage 2.children INF - read 10.books ?Mother encourages the children to read books? Control verbs select noun phrases, subjunctive clauses as well as the infinitive in Sesotho. Only the infinitive participates in control relations. However, an examination of the other complements of control verbs supports the classification of verbs in Sesotho proposed in this dissertation. The infinitive is introduced by ho which is also the prefix of class 15 nouns. This study compares the status of ho as an infinitival morpheme and ho as a noun class prefix in Sesotho. I suggest that the morphology of the control verbs together with the referential relations between the controller in the matrix clause and the subject of the infinitive help determine the differences between nominal infinitive (class 15 nouns) and clausal infinitives.This study also proposes that argument- structure changing verbal morphology is important in the classification of control verbs in Sesotho. This morphology is also responsible for the syntactic properties of control and directly accounts for the types of control observed in Sesotho. Contrasting this analysis with a typology of control patterns from other languages, the lack of partial control or split control is furthermore directly linked to argument-structure changing morphology.