Like many Bantu languages, objects in Kuria (Bantu, Kenya/Tanzania) can be realized by an object marker (OM) that occurs preceding the stem in the verbal form. Bantu OMs have long been argued to be instances of either agreement affixes or incorporated pronouns; this paper argues that Kuria OMs are object clitics, showing properties similar to clitics in familiar Indo-European languages. The paper documents a variety of syntactic, morphological, and phonological properties of OMs in Kuria, building the argument that OMs are clitic morphemes, assumed to cliticize at the edge of vP. Evidence for clitic doubling is drawn from ditransitive and tritransitive verbs, raising-to-object constructions, and tone spreading. Evidence for identifying OMs as the same sort of element as clitics in other languages comes from their optionality, feature coarseness of clitic doubling, mobility of OMs in possessives and in multiple-OM constructions, and the macrostem (OM+verbal stem) as a domain.
Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, and One Tlale Boyer
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