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Triadic Constructions in Rutooro
Bebwa Isingoma
149-160 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The paper focuses on triadic constructions in Rutooro, a Bantu language spoken in Uganda. Triadic constructions come in two formal varieties: double object construction (DOC) and prepositional phrase construction (PPC). Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) claims that the DOC in Bantu languages such as Luganda instantiates high applicatives, since derived triadic verbs in such languages do not encode possession, while the DOC in languages such as English instantiates low applicatives, since there is a possessional relation between the object referents. Pylkkänen contends that the above categories constitute a universal typology of applicatives. The paper, however, shows that Pylkkänen's typology does not apply to the Rutooro DOCs under consideration, as there are those that typically encode possession, those that encode both possession and benefaction (with possession being prototypical) and those that encode benefaction. The paper also highlights the role of context in the resolution of the meaning of DOCs that encode both possession and benefaction. As for the PPC, the paper shows that whereas English verbs like give, tell and take can alternate between the DOC and the PPC, Rutooro precludes the equivalents of verbs like 'give' (-ha) and 'tell' (-gamba) from occurring in the PPC. Typically, for Rutooro to admit the PPC, the verb should have an inherent locational property (e.g. -twara 'take'), because Rutooro lacks allative/dative prepositions. The paper shows that the PPC in Rutooro, as opposed to the DOC, is primarily licensed by a 'locational constraint'.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages in Context
edited by Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan M. Purvis
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00