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The problems of adverbs in Zulu

Chapter in book
Authors Lisa L-S Cheng
Laura J. Downing
Published in Above and Beyond the Segments. Experimental linguistics and phonetics. Caspers, Johanneke, Yiya Chen, Willemijn Heeren, Jos Pacilly, Niels O. Schiller and Ellen van Zanten (eds.)
Pages 42-59
ISBN 9789027212160
Publisher John Benjamins
Place of publication Amsterdam
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 42-59
Language en
Keywords Durban Zulu, prosodic phrasing, adverbs, late merger
Subject categories Languages and Literature, General Language Studies and Linguistics, African languages, Bantu languages


Adverbs in Durban Zulu appear to have contradictory properties. On the one hand, when they appear with intransitive verbs, they phrase prosodically with the verb, just like direct objects. On the other hand, adverbs which appear with transitive verbs are like typical adjuncts, which are adjoined above νP, and they are prosodically phrased separately from the rest of the sentence. We suggest that due to the nominal character of adverbs in Zulu, they can be selected by the verb. Selected materials (including selected adverbs) are merged at the time of main structure building, while non-selected adverbs and other adjuncts are merged late. The timing of the merger of adverbs reflects their prosodic phrasing properties.

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