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Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

Ed. by Ameka, Felix K. / Amha, Azeb

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Volume 39, Issue 2


The use of the ablative clitic in locative phrases in Iraqw, a Cushitic language of Tanzania

Anne Kruijt
Published Online: 2018-11-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2018-0009


This paper examines the use of the ablative case clitic in locative phrases in Iraqw, a South Cushitic language of Tanzania. In the typological classification of locative marker syncretisms, Iraqw has been classified as a language with a Source=Location≠ Goal pattern. This pattern is extremely rare in languages of the world and has been argued to be unattainable. The Iraqw ablative case clitic has been reported as both source and location marker. New data shows that the directional case clitic, a goal marker, appears on locative constructions as well, but that it is used to express purpose rather than location. The data also shows that the ablative case clitic is found mainly in locational clauses with a main verb with a durative aspect. Based on this, I argue that in locative constructions, the ablative clitic expresses duration rather than location and I propose the reanalysis of the ablative marker in locative phrases as a durational marker. The notion of location does not need to be expressed overtly, but is a zero-marker. Therefore, the rare Source=Location≠ Goal pattern is no longer valid for Iraqw, and instead I propose the pattern Source≠ Location≠ Goal, which is common in languages of the world.

Keywords: Iraqw; source; ablative case; location; spatial domain


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-11-08

Published in Print: 2018-11-06

Citation Information: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, Volume 39, Issue 2, Pages 241–265, ISSN (Online) 1613-3811, ISSN (Print) 0167-6164, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2018-0009.

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