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Title: Reference to objects in Makhuwa and Swahili discourse
Author: Poeta, Teresa
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 0370
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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The Bantu languages Swahili (G42, Tanzania) and Makhuwa (P31, Mozambique) show a high degree of structural similarity, but differ significantly with respect to their morphological systems of object marking; whereas Swahili has complex paradigm of object markers based on 15 noun class distinctions, in Makhuwa object markers exist only for two classes (1 and 2). Based on original data from Makhuwa-Meeto and Swahili, the thesis explores the implications of this morphological difference for the discourse structures of the two languages. Object markers are a central part of anaphoric relations in Bantu languages, and the thesis shows how other elements interact with them in both languages. The results of the study show that the correlation between morphology and discourse is complex; while there are differences in referential density (the ratio between expressed and nonexpressed verbal arguments) between Makhuwa and Swahili, both languages exhibit a high degree of object ellipsis. Pronouns fulfil focus-related and emphatic functions in both languages, and so are rarely used for anaphoric reference, but Makhuwa shows a stronger tendency to use full noun phrases in anaphoric contexts. More generally, the results of the thesis contribute to our understanding ofMakhuwa and Swahili object expressions, as well as to a small but growing number of studies on discourse structures in Bantu languages, to the comparative study of Bantu morphosyntax, and to the expression of anaphoric relations in discourse more widely.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral