Locative orientation and locative arguments: A case study from Kinyarwanda

Kyle Jerro


Previous work has investigated various syntactic and semantic properties of locative PPs, but a lesser-studied set of facts is so-called "locative orientation" – the variable locating of participants in the location described by the locative. In Kinyarwanda (Bantu; Rwanda), the presence/absence of the applicative morpheme -ir corresponds to an alternation in orientation: with the non-applied variant, the locative only necessarily describes the object's location; with the applied variant, all participants must be at the location described by the locative. I argue that Kinyarwanda locatives are neither prepositions (but rather noun class prefixes) nor adjuncts, and therefore cannot be analyzed as intersectional (adjunct) modifiers. On the view that locatives are (internal) arguments, I instead propose that locative applicatives in Kinyarwanda mark a paradigmatic relationship between applied and non-applied variants in which there is an increase in the number of entailments associated with an internal argument.


locatives; applicative morphology; Bantu languages

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v5i1.4691

Copyright (c) 2020 Kyle Jerro

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