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Three types of object marking in Bantu 

Zeller, Jochen

Linguistische Berichte (LB), Bd. 2014 (2014), Iss. 239: S. 106–126

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Zeller, Jochen


This paper proposes a typology that classifies Bantu languages according to the function of so-called object markers in their grammar. Three types of language are distinguished: in Type 1, object markers are agreement markers; in Type 2, object markers are pronominal clitics; in Type 3, object marking is a reflex of A-bar movement of the corresponding object. The paper further demonstrates that the three types of language also behave in systematic ways with respect to the possibility of object marking in object relative clauses: in Type 1 languages, object markers are never required, in Type 2, object markers are never possible, and in Type 3, object marking is always compulsory in object relatives. Finally, the paper presents a syntactic analysis of object marking in Type 3 languages, which explains the obligatory occurrence of object markers in right dislocation and relative clause constructions in these languages.