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date: 25 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the common syntactic features as well as the syntactic microvariation found in the Bantu languages. It particularly highlights the importance of information structure for the analysis of morphosyntax in this language family: word order, valency, voice, tense-aspect marking, subject and object marking can all be influenced and affected by the information structure expressed in the sentence. The chapter furthermore shows how Bantu languages, despite their shared basic SVO word order, noun classes and extensive verbal morphology, display a remarkable variation in the conditions determining agreement relations and word order. This has influenced syntactic theory formation in the past and should continue to do so now that more data and analyses of Bantu syntactic phenomena become available.

Keywords: Bantu, syntax, Bantu languages, morphology, information structure, word order

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