This paper outlines the variation of object symmetry patterns in various Bantu languages, showing that theoretical generalizations drawn from a single language cannot capture the behavior in other languages. Specifically, the symmetry patterns of an applicative cannot be predicted from the thematic role of the object, as assumed in earlier work on object symmetry. Furthermore, this paper shows that object order should not be derived from the same machinery as other objecthood diagnostics. A syntactic analysis is presented that argues that symmetry is encoded on each applicative type in a particular language and not derived from universal thematic hierarchies.
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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