Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 7, 2013

Subject raising in Zulu and the nature of PredP

  • Leston Chandler Buell EMAIL logo and Merijn de Dreu
From the journal The Linguistic Review


The Bantu language Zulu has several types of predication in which no verb appears: adjectival and nominal predication, locative and possessive predication, and two types of existential predication. We show that these predication types differ from verbal predication in generally disallowing an internal subject (i.e., an unraised external argument), even in the case of nominal predication, which seemingly displays the unraised subject agreement pattern. Like Zeller (2010, 2011), we assume that the syntactic peculiarities of non-verbal predicates are attributable to the projection of PredP, whose head is morphologically realized in nominal predication. However, contra Zeller, we argue that PredP does not also project in certain verbal inversion constructions with internal subjects. The properties of these inversions are argued to be better captured by more general principles, such as the aboutness property of the preverbal subject position. Furthermore, only restricted projection of PredP captures the morphological alternation found in certain prefixes which follows the verbal/non-verbal dichotomy. It is argued that the existential predicate -khona, which has properties of both verbal and non-verbal predicates, is a special kind of verb, the only one on top of which PredP can project.

Published Online: 2013-09-07
Published in Print: 2013-09-07

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

Downloaded on 29.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button