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4.4 Conclusion

 

            The syntax relevant to 'inflectional' morphology on the verb in Bantu languages can thus be summarized as follows (keeping in mind that individual languages may differ in restrictiveness):

- noun class prefixes are functional heads selecting for an optionally empty nominal argument

- arguments that do not agree with a noun class marker on the verb remain in situ within VP

- agreeing arguments are adjuncts

- TP and VP are adjunction sites

- adjuncts can adjoin left or right

 

            Bantu languages thus have non-configurational characteristics which is due to adjuncts that are coindexed with the actual NC arguments in the verbal complex. Insofar, Bantu sentence structure looks very much like the one proposed by Baker 1996 for polysynthetic languages. The Bantu family differs from e.g. Iroquoian, however, in that it optionally allows full non-clitic arguments to be generated within the VP (under certain interpretive conditions, see 4), while true polysynthetic languages are limited to adjunction structures. It may thus turn out that the non-configurational languages par excellence have, in fact, a more restrictive syntax than other languages from families such as Bantu.

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