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Lecture | Com(parative) Syn(tax) Series

Word order, information structure and agreement in Teke (Bantu B70)

Thursday 1 December 2022
Com(parative) Syn(tax) Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


In this talk, I will discuss the information structure and its interactions with syntax in Teke-Kukuya, which is a Narrow Bantu language (Guthrie code B77) spoken in the Republic of Congo. I will identify a dedicated immediate-before-verb (IBV) focus position in this language and show its interpretational properties. Based on some segmental and tonal evidence, I suggest that the IBV focus construction has its historical origin in a cleft. I will also propose the syntactic derivation of this preverbal focus strategy. There is also an intriguing a-/ka- class 1 subject marking alternation which co-varies with preverbal focus and word order, and I will provide an approach to explaining this phenomenon. The data presented is based on my field work in 2019 and 2021.

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