The Multiple Functions of the Reflexive Prefix in Hehe, Sukuma, Nilamba, and Nyaturu
This dissertation describes and analyses the multiple functions of the reflexive prefix in four North Eastern Bantu languages, Hehe, Sukuma, Nilamba, and Nyaturu, all spoken in Tanzania. Apart from encoding the reflexive meaning, the functions of the reflexive prefix that are dealt with in this study are reciprocal events and middle events. The study shows that the reflexive prefix is a productive means of encoding reciprocal events: events that are encoded by the reflexes of the Proto-Bantu reciprocal suffix *-an- in many Bantu languages. Furthermore, the reflexive prefix is also a productive means of encoding middle events, which have been reported to be encoded by a variety of morphemes across Bantu languages. The data from the languages under study also show that multiple forms exist, but most of them are undeniably less productive than the reflexive prefix. The analysis of the multiple functions of the reflexive prefix is made within grammaticalization theory. This study proposes two paths of grammaticalization: from reflexive to reciprocal marker, and from reflexive to middle marker. Each path of grammaticalization is argued to be triggered by a specific factor/context that invites inference for the reflexive prefix to be reinterpreted with a new function/meaning. The two paths of grammaticalization proposed in this study can account for the existing grammaticalization from the reflexive to the middle marker, without encoding the reciprocal, which is otherwise frequently observed in other Bantu languages.
Doctor of Philosophy
Göteborgs universitet. Humanistiska fakulteten
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Humanities
Department of Languages and Literatures ; Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
Monday, November 15, 2021 at 10.15, Auditorium, Lilla Hörsalen, Renstömsgatan 6
Date of defence