This paper presents an analysis of the Shona reflexive morpheme zvi. The first issue examined is the syntactic status of the morpheme, determining whether it is an object marker, which leaves the valence of the predicate intact, or a reflexivizing operator, which renders the predicate intransitive. Adapting diagnostics from related languages, the conclusion is reached that in Shona, the reflexive zvi does belong to the set of object markers. Further evidence is presented to argue that the Shona reflexive behaves as a bound variable in the original theta-position, demonstrating sensitivity to the underlying c-command relations between arguments when attempts are made to combine the reflexive with the passive. Whereas other object markers are acceptable in passive sentences, the reflexive appears to be ruled out by sensitivity to a crossover-type constraint.
Selected Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: Linguistic Research and Languages in Africa
edited by Akinloye Ojo and Lioba Moshi
Table of contents