An argument for ezafe constructions and construct state in Zulu

Taylor Jones


Zulu (Niger-Congo, South Africa) exhibits a complicated interplay between morphological and phonological processes that, combined with an inherited, traditionalist approach to syntactic categories in the Nguni languages, obscures an overt phoneme that is argued to be common to all complex DPs. Here it is claimed that the traditional categories of adjective, relative, compound noun, possessive, and demonstrative can all be unified under a DP approach that takes this overt phoneme to be a functional marker that is analogous to those appearing in Persian ezafe constructions and construct state constructions in Afro-Asiatic languages. This approach reduces a variety of seemingly different Zulu-specific phenomena to a single, cross-linguistically established phenomenon.


Zulu; syntax; phonology; construct state; ezafe; Determiners

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2018 Taylor Jones

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America

Advancing the Scientific Study of Language

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.