SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Shinagawa, Daisuke and Marten, Lutz (2023) 'A micro-parametric survey on typological covariation related to focus marking strategies, based on the Bantu Morphosyntactic Variation database.' Linguistique et Langues Africaines, 9 (1). pp. 1-25.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC-BY-SA 4.0).

Download (697kB) | Preview


This paper discusses typological tendencies of focus marking strategies from a cross-Bantu perspective based on the Bantu Morphosyntactic Variation (BMV) database, a large-scale database of morphosyntactic variation of Bantu languages built around 142 parameters covering an entire range of the major morphosyntactic components. Our main concern in this study is the inter-parametric correlation of three major focus marking strategies — the use of a morphological focus marker (MFM), conjoint/disjoint (CJ/DJ) alternation, and verb doubling — in relation to logically independent parameters pertaining to negation, syntactic object symmetry, and inversion constructions. One of the clear tendencies observed in the database is that languages employing verb-external marking rather than verb-internal morphology tend to have an MFM, whereas languages with CJ/DJ alternation tend to adopt verbal morphology for main clause negation. Another typological correlation shows that patient inversion strongly tends to be restricted in languages with marked focus marking strategies such as MFM and CJ/DJ. Based on such inter-parametric correlation observed in BMV, we discuss a developmental process of different negation strategies in relation to the types of focus marking strategies. We also propose possible generalisations about the interrelation between focus marking strategies and the syntactic object symmetry on the one hand, and the different inversion constructions on the other.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Bantu languages, focus, information structure, morphosyntax, typological correlation
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
ISSN: 24292230
Copyright Statement: Creative Commons - Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International - CC BY-SA 4.0
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2023 12:01
Funders: Leverhulme Trust

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item