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Marten, Lutz, Gibson, Hannah, Guérois, Rozenn and Poeta, Teresa (2023) 'Content words and contextual meaning: Lexical NPs as discourse anaphora in Makhuwa and Cuwabo.' In: Achiri-Taboh, Blasius, (ed.), The Bantu Noun Phrase: Issues and Perspectives. London: Routledge, pp. 183-209.

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A distinction is often made between words expressing lexical content and those expressing grammatical functions. As a result, content words such as nouns and verbs are typically distinguished from function words such as auxiliaries and pronouns. The lexical information encoded by content words is often seen as fully determined and largely invariant across contexts, while procedural, functional expressions are considered to lack a fully specified interpretation and be context dependent. This chapter investigates an empirical domain which highlights the interaction between content and function where these relations appear to be reversed. The case under examination is the use of lexical NPs (expressions comprised of content words) in the Bantu languages Makhuwa and Cuwabo where they appear as anaphoric elements (as context dependent expressions) in discourse. We show that this usage is linked to a specific aspect of the morphosyntax of the two languages—their restricted object marking system—and that the relationship between lexical content and discourse function cannot be assumed to be cross-linguistically universal.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
ISBN: 9781032183633
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2024 11:19
Related URLs: https://www.rou ... k/9781032183633 (Publisher URL)

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