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Title: Polysemy and the applicative verb construction in Chishona
Author: Mabugu, Patricia Ruramisai
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Within the Bantu language Chishona, spoken in Zimbabwe, there exist a number of other productive patterns with the applicative morpheme where the applicative object is interpreted as a maleficiary, motive, goal, locative and source, and where there may or may not be a change in the valence of the verb stem. Moreover, there are instances in which the applicative is associated with a completely idiosyncratic semantic contrast. Though these lexical pairs seem to be differentiated by the presence of the applicative suffix, they cannot plausibly be so analysed at least synchronically, since the semantics of the applicative verb differs considerably from that of its apparent morphological base. The fact that the applicative construction is associated with a wide variety of interpretations poses serious problems for unitary analyses of the construction by Bantu theorists and hence we find that no attempt has been made to account for the applicative in a unitary manner. Given this difficulty, analyses have generally postulated homonymous applicative forms, a position that leads to a large amount of grammatical redundancy and miss significant generalisations. Yet the very existence of these different interpretations motivate a unitary analysis. In order to avoid grammatical redundancy and capture the morpho syntactic similarities between the different types of applicative, this thesis proposes that the different patterns and interpretations of the applicative construction are not distinct but result from polysemous extensions of a basic construction. I argue in this thesis that all the different interpretations associated with the applicative suffix are derived from a single semantic basic meaning: an underspecified (polysemous) generalised goal relation. The analysis is couched within the theory of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) (Sag and Wasow 1999, Pollard and Sag 1987, 1994) and utilises the theory of Type-based Derivational Morphology (TBDM) (Riehemann 1993, 1998). Using this theory it is shown that there is a very general set of properties associated with all applicatives and that particular instantiations can be derived from these within the lexicon. The elegance of HPSG is that it provides an analysis that centres for all the different instantiations of the applicative that are found in Chishona without positing any exceptional rules. The thesis thus draws attention to the existence of other types of applicatives in Chishona and provides a unitary account of them that is not obviously possible within other frameworks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available