A Relational Grammar Approach to Kera Syntax

Janet K. Camburn

This is a duplicate entry that has been withdrawn. Access to the PDF is available here: https://commons.und.edu/sil-work-papers/vol28/iss1/1/


Kera is an Afroasiatic language belonging to the Chadic family. Verb morphology includes complex tense and aspect marking. Indication of final grammatical relations is by word order, auxiliary prefix agreement with subject, fused pronouns as direct and indirect object, and prepositions to mark indirect objects and obliques. Body parts serve as prepositions and they govern a locative suffix on the noun phrase which they precedes-

A passive construction is described and its analysis defended within the relational grammar framework* Arguments for this analysis are based on term markings discussed above, plus the relative clause formation strategy. Constructions in which initial indirect objects advance to subject are also presented, and it is argued that even though the initial indirect object is a final subject, this is not a case of indirect object to subject advancement; rather the initial indirect object is a direct object at an intermediate level, as evidenced by the fact that the initial direct object is a final chomeur, Benefactives, which are marked the same as final indirect objects, do not advance to direct object or subject.

In cases of matrix and embedded clauses sharing a nominal, Kera uses either pronoun replacers, "erasure" of the downstairs relation, or equi-subject clause union, depending upon the matrix verb and the relations of the shared nominal,

A small number of verbs have variant stem forms which are sensitive to the number of their final direct object or subject; evidence is presented that it is the initial direct object to which this stem agreement is sensitive. An unaccusative advancement analysis of certain intransitive clauses is proposed and defended.

The ascension of a final downstairs subject is possible from a host that is the direct object of a verb which translates 'allow'; of particular interest is the fact that the resultant multiattachment is resolved by a pronoun replacer in either clause (with the shared nominal a final constituent of the other clause). Ascension of an initial downstairs direct object is possible with a matrix verb that translates 'hard'. This ascension has unusual constraints upon it, which in turn provide an additional argument for the unaccusative advancement analysis of clauses with certain verbs,

Kera is shown to have two kinds of possessor ascension: ascension to direct object and ascension to indirect object. Both are subject to the overriding constraint that no ascended possessor may head a subject arc.