If the noun class
marker on the verb agrees with the noun class of the subject, the subject can
occur anywhere in the sentence, but it cannot intervene between the verb and a
Since the subject NC
manifests a full pronominal structure, it saturates the relevant q-role
of the verb. Thus the overt subject DP can only occur in adjoined position,
which explains the freedom with which it can undergo all permutations with
typical adjuncts in (18a-d).
Notice that the object
behaves markedly different from the subject:
object cannot be separated from the verb by any adjuncts. Since no morphological
affinities exist between verbal head and its complement (i.e. affinities as
between prefix and stem), the blocking of intervening adverbials must be due to
a syntactic mechanism. As stated above, the available facts do not allow me to
draw a conclusion.
double object constructions
object constructions extend the above noted adjacency requirement between the
verb and the non-agreeing object to the indirect object:
Again, the subject adjunct
can freely permute with other adjuncts, here a 'locative temporal' (e-ntsambama
‘in the afternoon’) and a true temporal (kusasa ‘tomorrow’). If
the subject precedes the direct object, the sentence is marginal, and if the
subject precedes the indirect object, the sentence becomes ungrammatical. Thwala
1996: 213 states that 'the indirect object must precede the direct object when
neither object triggers verb agreement', unless the indirect object is generated
as a PP, in which case the direct object needs to be adjacent to the verb
pattern is suggests that Theme must be saturated before Goal in a Larsonian
shell (cf. Li 1990):
manifestations of the IO, on the other hand, may have adjunct status: like
nominal agreement, the preposition provides overt clues about the thematic
status of the phrase. Thus, a prepositional IO is not required to remain in situ
within the VP and is licensed to adjoin to a higher phrasal node.
 Notice that the word order in (d) poses an immense problem for the commonly made assumption that the agreeing subject is either located in [Spec, TP] or in a topic position (e.g. Thwala, 1996: 227). The data are not terribly clear here: in another context, Thwala (1996: 229) claims that the subject may not occur between object and manner adverb, unless the reading is contrastive. Nevertheless, the fact is that the subject can intervene in some reading, and hence [Spec, TP] is not a viable starting or intermediate position for the overt subject.