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Luganda applicatives

Revision as of 15:06, 20 May 2016 by Typecraft (Talk | contribs)

This page has been created by the TypeCraft Project

--Typecraft (talk) 12:59, 1 May 2016 (CEST)


The study of Bantu applicatives has a long tradition. Here are some references ordered by language[1]:

  • Sesotho – Morolong & Hyman, 1977; Machobane, 1989; Demuth, 2003;
  • Haya – Duranti & Byarushengo, 1977; Hyman & Duranti, 1982;
  • Chichewa – Marantz, 1984; Baker, 1988; Alsina & Mchombo 1990;
  • Kichaga – Bresnan & Moshi, 1990;
  • Chishona – Harford, 1993
  • Bemba - Marten, 2011


Bantu languages differ in whether they allow symmetric or asymmetric applicatives. Luganda belongs to the former class, which means that both objects behave like core objects: they can become the subject of a passive construction, and they can be expressed as pre-verbal pronominal affixes on the applicativized verb.

Two question areas stand central in the linguistic literature on applicativization in Banut: (a) Which arguments can be applicativized, and, under applicativization, is the applied argument independently lexicalized or expressed within the verb, or both? (b) which syntactic verb classes allow applicativization, can for example also ditransitive verbs be applicativized and do all verb classes support applicatives?

In the following we will focus our description of the Luganda applicative on six salient properties, using IGT examples from the TypeCraft's public Luganda corpus. The corpus contains at the point of writing (April 2016) 94 sentences where at least one verb is glossed for having an applicative extension.

These are the parameters we have considered:

  • The thematic role of the applied argument (AA)
  • The syntactic category of the AA (e.g. PN, N, PP)
  • Presence of argument indices
  • Linearization of the objects in ditransitive applicatives
  • Applied object topicalization
  • Applied object relativization


(1) VERB: tunuula Meaning: 'look', see' , Thematic Role: Stimulus, Argument index: "ki" is class 7, which gives a pejorative meaning to the applicativized object, Topicalization: -


(2) VERB: leeta Meaning: 'bring', Thematic Role: Beneficiary, AA-Category: AA not independently lexicalised , Argument index: + , Topicalization: -


(3)VERB: nywa, Meaning' : 'drink', Themantic Role: Location, AA-Category: AA not lexicalized independently, Argument index: Locative endclitic on the verb, Topicalisation: -


(4) VERB: kola Meaning: 'do', AA':Bebe Cool Thematic Role: Beneficiary, AA-Category: Np , Argument index: -, Topicalisation: -


(5)VERB: tunuula Meaning: 'look', 'see' AA: akazimbe kaganyegenya , Thematic Role: Stimulus, AA_Category: CN Argument index: -, Topicalisation: -


(6)VERB: soma Meaning: 'read' , Themantic Role: Malficiary, AA-Category: AA not lexicalized independently, Argument index: +, Topicalisation: - Note: The meaning read to me is here interpreted as talking bad about me (might be a slang expression)


(7)VERB:suula Meaning: 'throw', Thematic Role: Theme, AA-Category: AA not lexicalised independently,Argument index: DIM.12, Topicalisation: -



(8)VERB: kaaba, Meaning: 'cry', AA: waggulu, Thematic Role: Locative, Category: CN/ADV place, Argument index: -, Topicalisation: -


(9)VERB: buuka Meaning: 'jump' , AA: ebintu, Themantic Role: Locative, Category: CN, Argument Index: Locative; endclitic on the verb Topicalisation: -, Relativisation: +


(10)VERB: kaaba Meaning: 'cry', AA: nju, Themantic Role: Locative, Category: PP


(11)VERB: jjuza Meaning: 'fill', Themantic Role: Beneficiary, AA-Category: Argument is not lexicalized, Argument index: -, Topicalisation: - Applicativized verb is an infinitive, main verb is an imperative. Applicative is an infix.


(12)VERB:tabuula Meaning: 'look', Themantic Role : Stimulus, AA-Category: Argument is not lexicalized, Argument index: 3SG, animate, Topicalisation: -



(13)VERB:tabuula Meaning: 'look', AA: omusajja,Themantic Role : Stimuli, AA-Category: NP, Argument index: -, Topicalisation: -


(14)VERB: fi Meaning: 'die', AA: mu leeba , AA-Category: PP, Topicalisation: - Comment: the expression die in labour undergoes locative applicativization.


(15) VERB:buuka Meaning: 'jump', AA: kantu, Themantic Role : Location, AA-Category: NP LocativeRelative Marker: ko, Topicalisation: - Relativisation:+


(16)VERB:suula Meaning: 'throw', Themantic Role: Theme, Argument Index: DIM.12., Topicalisation: -


(17)VERB:buuka Meaning: 'jump', AA: ebintu, Thematic Role : Location, AA-Category: NP LocativeRelative Marker: ko, Topicalisation: - Relativisation:+


(18) applicative copula construction


(19) VERB kola Meaning: 'do', Themantic Role: Beneficiary, AA-category: AA not independently lexicalized, Argument index: 3PL, Topicalization: -


(20) VERB: kasuka Meaning: 'throw', Thematic Role: Recipient, AA-category: AA not independently lexicalized,Argument index: 3PL , Relativisation:+


(21)VERB: tandika Meaning: 'begin', Thematic Role: Event, AA-category: de-verbal noun,


(22) VERB: gejja, Meaning: 'fatten', Thematic Role: Reason, AA-category: CN, Topicalization: -


(23) VERB: yuza Meaning: 'tear', AA: olugoye lwange, Thematic Role: Patient, AA-category:CN, Argument index: 1SG, Topicalization: - , Comment: The applicativized argument is of class 11.It is a possessive NP (1.SG).


(24) VERB: okoza Meaning: 'wash' AA:lubalaza., Thematic Role: Location, AA-category: PP, Comment: the applicative extension is an infix


(25)VERB: jagua, Meaning: 'celebrate', AA:amazaalibwa, Thematic Role: Patient, AA-category: the AA is not independently lexicalized, Argument index: 6, Topicalisation : +, Relativization: -, Comment: The applicative extension is an infix

 The example contains an annotation error, we deal with a topicalized AA .


(26)VERB: fuuka, Meaning: 'turn against', Thematic Role: Malficiary, AA-category: the AA is not independently lexicalized, Argument index: 3SG, Topicalisation : +, Relativization: -

  The example contains an annotation error, the argument index mu is not a relative marker.


(27) VERB: soma, Meaning: 'talk', Thematic Role: Subject matter, AA-category: AA is not independently realized,


(28)VERB: ŋond, MEANING: 'easier', 'softer', Thematic Role: Beneficiary, AA-category: AA is not independently realized


(29)VERB: wa Meaning: 'give'


(30)VERB: wa Meaning: 'give'


  1. Proper references will be added shortly