Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Open Access  DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Subscription or Fee Access

On the origins of passive allomorphy in Cuwabo (Bantu P34)

Rozenn Guérois, Koen Bostoen


Cuwabo has two different derivational suffixes to form passive verb stems, i.e. -iw and -uw. Unlike in many other Bantu languages, these suffixes are not phonologically conditioned allomorphs of one single morphological passive marker. They are interchangeable as productive passive markers, but -uw has a broader functional range than -iw. The suffix -uw actually is a ‘quasi-middle’ marker as defined by Dom et al.: it semantically focuses the activity expressed by the verb on one single argument, and it syntactically signals the intransitivity of a given verb stem. In this article, it is shown that -uw in Cuwabo is the regular reflex of the Proto-Bantu intransitive separative suffix *-ʊk whose semi-productive intransitivising function as part of a  causative/anticausative alternation was functionally broadened to productive passivisation leading to competition with -iw, the inherited reflex of the Proto-Bantu passive suffix *-ibʊ.

AJOL African Journals Online