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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Re-examining the relationship between the subject agreement morpheme and (in)definiteness in Northern Sotho : original research

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Abstract

The grammatical position of the subject noun phrase in Northern Sotho is to the left of the predicate. The subject agreement morpheme is a compulsory link between the subject noun phrase and the predicate. Scholars have examined the role of this morpheme from various perspectives. It is also extensively documented that the morpheme has dual functions. Its primary function is to mark agreement between the subject and the predicate. Its secondary function is pronominal, whereby it is co-referenced to some antecedent. This article reexamined the primary role of the subject agreement morpheme in Northern Sotho in relation to the interpretation of a subject noun phrase as definite or indefinite. This was accomplished by (1) revisiting existing works that are directly or indirectly linked to (in)definiteness and subject agreement, (2) analysing texts that may facilitate discussion on the issue, and (3) relating the findings from previous works to current analyses. The first hypothesis in this article was that when some class 9 subject noun phrases, denoting persons, agree with the verb stem by a class 1 agreement morpheme, the noun phrases are interpreted as definite. The second hypothesis was that although the subject position is considered predominantly topical and definite it may not categorically exclude indefinite noun phrases. Therefore some indefinite noun phrases may also agree with predicates by means of this morpheme.


Die grammatikale posisie van die onderwerpnaamwoordfrase in Noord-Sotho is links van die predikaat. Die onderwerpskongruensie-morfeem is 'n verpligte skakel tussen die onderwerpnaamwoord-frase en die predikaat. Vakkundiges het die rol van hierdie morfeem uit verskillende perspektiewe bestudeer. Dit staan ook vas dat hierdie morfeem 'n tweeledige funksie het. Die funksie is eerstens om die kongruensie tussen die onderwerpnaamwoord en die predikaat te stel, en tweedens om as voornaamwoord na 'n voorafgaande gesprek te verwys. Hierdie artikel ondersoek opnuut die primêre rol van die onderwerpskongruensie-morfeem in Noord-Sotho as 'n funksie van die vertolking van 'n onderwerpnaamwoord as bepaald of onbepaald. Dit word gedoen (1) deur opnuut aandag te gee aan bestaande werke wat regstreeks of onregstreeks met (on)bepaaldheid en/of 'n onderwerpskongruensie-morfeem verbind is; (2) deur enkele tekste te ontleed wat bespreking van die saak kan aanhelp; en (3) deur die bevindinge van vorige werke met die huidige ontleding in verband te bring. Die eerste hipotese in hierdie artikel is dat daar gevalle kan voorkom wanneer naamwoord-frase as bepaald geïnterpreteer kan word as 'n klas 9 naamwoord-frase wat persone denoteer 'n klas 1 onderwerpskongruensie-morfeem oorneem. Die tweede hipotese is dat hoewel die onderwerpsposisie meestal as onderwerp en bepaald beskou word, sluit dit nie onbepaaldenaamwoord-frases uit nie, met die gevolg dat dit kan gebeur dat onbepaaldenaamwoord-frases deur middel van die onderwerpskongruensie-morfeem ook met predikate kan kongrueer.

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/content/literat/34/1/EJC139631
2013-01-01
2016-12-07
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