Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Gast, Volker

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.066

CiteScore 2018: 0.97

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.384
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.409

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 55, Issue 4


Unusual manner constructions in Shua (Khoe-Kwadi, Botswana)

William B. McGregor
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics, The School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 2, Office 1485-617, DK-8000 Århus C, Denmark
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-06-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0013


This paper describes a set of three interrelated constructions in Shua (Khoe-Kwadi, Botswana) that make reference to the manner of performance of an event, or to the condition of an entity or entities either in general or as they are involved in an event or situation. There is a subordinate version of the construction that employs reduplication of the verb and a marked case of the subject to signal subordinate status. The other two types are main clause constructions with the overall appearance of copular clauses (i.e., clauses employing a grammeme as a linking device), with a final ‘be’ copula together with an instance of the subordinate variety of the construction. These two constructions, however, show grammatical features that attest to their distinctiveness, distinguishing them from other types of copular clause. The paper discusses the range of meanings and uses of the three manner constructions, and proposes grammatical analyses.

Keywords: Shua; reduplication; manner; copular constructions; presumptions; dummy elements; insubordination


  • Andrews, Kenneth Ralph. 1994. Shawnee grammar. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Barrett, Edward Rush, III. 1999. A grammar of Sipakapense Maya. Austin, TX: The University of Texas at Austin dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Bell, Roger T., Zubaidah Ibrahim, Ho Koon Wei & Lucy Lim. 2015. Malaysian Sign Language. In Julie Bakken Jepsen, Goedele De Clerck, Sam Lutalo-Kiingi & William B. McGregor (eds.), Sign languages of the world: A comparative handbook, 583–605. Berlin, Boston & Preston: De Gruyter Mouton & Ishara Press.Google Scholar

  • Bickel, Balthasar. 1999. Nominalization and focus constructions in some Kiranti languages. In Yogendra P. Yadava & Waren G. Glover (eds.), Topics in Nepalese linguistics, 271–296. Kathmandu: Royal Nepal Academy.Google Scholar

  • Clendon, Mark. 2014. Worrorra: A language of the north-west Kimberley coast. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press.Google Scholar

  • Creissels, Denis. 2012. Matériaux pour un dictionnaire mandinka [Materials for a Mandinka dictionary]. Unpublished manuscript. http://www.deniscreissels.fr/public/Creissels-lexique_mandinka_2012.pdf (accessed 25 November 2016).

  • Doornenbal, Marius Albert. 2009. A grammar of Bantawa: Grammar, paradigm tables, glossary and texts of a Rai language of Eastern Nepal. Leiden: University of Leiden dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Efrat, Barbara Silverman. 1969. A grammar of non-particles in Sooke, a dialect of Straits Coast Salish. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Eisenbeiss, Sonja & William B. McGregor. 1999. The circle of dirt. Unpublished manuscript, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.Google Scholar

  • Evans, Nicholas. 2007. Insubordination and its uses. In Irina Nikolaeva (ed.), Finiteness: Theoretical and empirical foundations, 366–431. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Fehn, Anne-Maria. 2014. A grammar of Ts’ixa (Kalahari Khoe). Cologne: University of Cologne dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Gaby, Alice. 2006. A grammar of Kuuk Thaayorre. Melbourne: University of Melbourne dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Haacke, Wilfred H. G. & Eliphas Eiseb. 2002. A Khoekhoegowab dictionary: With an English-Khoekhoegowab index. Windhoek: Gamsberg Macmillan.Google Scholar

  • Hagman, Roy Stephen. 1973. Nama Hottentot grammar. New York: Columbia University dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Halliday, Michael A. K. 1985. An introduction to functional grammar. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar

  • Heine, Bernd. 1999. The ǁAni: Grammatical notes and texts (Khoisan Forum 11). Cologne: Institut für Afrikanistik, University of Cologne.Google Scholar

  • Kilian-Hatz, Christa. 2008. A grammar of Modern Khwe (Central Khoisan). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.Google Scholar

  • Kilian-Hatz, Christa & Bernd Heine. 1998. On nominal gender marking in Kxoe. In Mathias Schladt (ed.), Language, identity, and conceptualzation among the Khoisan, 65–93. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.Google Scholar

  • Mayer, Mercer. 1969. Frog, where are you? New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.Google Scholar

  • McGregor, William B. 1997. Semiotic grammar. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

  • McGregor, William B. 2013. Optionality in grammar and language use. Linguistics 51(6). 1147–1204.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • McGregor, William B. 2014. Shua kinship terminology. In Alan Barnard & Gertrud Boden (eds.), Southern African Khoisan kinship systems, 39–62. Cologne: Rüdige Köppe.Google Scholar

  • McGregor, William B. 2015. Four counter-presumption constructions in Shua (Khoe-Kwadi, Botswana). Lingua 158. 54–75.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • McGregor, William B., Janne Boye Niemelä & Julie Bakken Jepsen. 2015. Danish Sign Language. In Julie Bakken Jepsen, Goedele De Clerck, Sam Lutalo-Kiingi & William B. McGregor (eds.), Sign languages of the world: A comparative handbook, 195–233. Berlin, Boston & Preston: De Gruyter Mouton & Ishara Press.Google Scholar

  • Neidle, Carol & Joan Cottle Poole Nash. 2015. American Sign Language. In Julie Bakken Jepsen, Goedele De Clerck, Sam Lutalo-Kiingi & William B. McGregor (eds.), Sign languages of the world: A comparative handbook, 31–70. Berlin, Boston & Preston: De Gruyter Mouton & Ishara Press.Google Scholar

  • Simon, Horst J. & Heike Wiese (eds.). 2011. Expecting the unexpected: Exceptions in grammar (Trends in Linguistics, Studies and Monographs 216). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Van Praet, Wout & Kristin Davidse. 2015. Revisiting the typology of English copular clauses: Ascription and specification in categorizing and identifying clauses. Leuven Working Papers in Linguistics 4(19). doi:CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Verstraete, Jean-Christophe, Sarah D’Hertefelt & An Van Linden. 2012. A typology of complement insubordination in Dutch. Studies in Language 36. 123–153.Google Scholar

  • Vossen, Rainer (ed.). 2013. The Khoesan languages (The Routledge Language Family Series). London & New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Wilson, Janet E. 2003. Transparency and spreading of tense, aspect, and mood in Kuche narrative discourse. Arlington, TX: The University of Texas at Arlington dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Wohlgemuth, Jan & Michael Cysouw (eds.). 2010. Rethinking universals: How rarities affect linguistic theory (Empirical Approaches to Language Typology 45). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2017-06-27

Published in Print: 2017-07-26

The research on which this paper is based was supported financially by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation through the EuroBABEL Program of the European Science Foundation.

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 55, Issue 4, Pages 857–897, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0013.

Export Citation

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in