NWO-funded projects

 

  • Word order and Morphological Marking in Bantu
    read more >>

  • The Structure and Interpretation of Nouns and Noun Phrases:
    a comparative study of Bantu, Chinese and Romance
    read more >>

  • Functional Projections in Analytic Languages
    read more >>


Word order and Morphological Marking in Bantu

NWO-programma (2004-2008)

Principal Investigator: Lisa Cheng
Co-Investigator: Thilo Schadeberg
Team members: Leston Buell, Kristina Riedel, Jenneke van der Wal

Project summary
As Bearth notes in his comprehensive overview of the syntax of Bantu languages, “[m]ost published descriptions of Bantu languages concentrate on lexical and morphological structure.  Studies explicitly dealing with syntactic phenomena are rare and are unevenly distributed over the area” (Bearth 2003:121). When it comes to word order, for instance, Bearth notes that the “[v]ariablity of verb-external constituent order is a widespread although insufficiently studied phenomenon of Bantu syntax” (Bearth 2003:128). The proposed research program aims at studying some of the variation in word order found among Bantu languages along with the relevant parts of their morphology within the generative framework.  Concretely, within the research program we will examine Bantu word order variation from the following three perspectives:

  • the relationship between word order variation and subject- and object-markings on the verb;
  • the relationship between word order variation and the conjoint/disjoint verb forms;

the relationship between word order variation and the formation of interrogative sentences with question words.  read more >>

back to top


The Structure and Interpretation of Nouns and Noun Phrases: a comparative study of Bantu, Chinese and Romance

NWO-network (2007-2010)

Principal Investigator: Lisa Cheng
Network partners: Lisa Cheng (Leiden, Netherlands), Laura Downing (ZAS, Germany), Denis Defitto (Verona, Italy), Pino Longobardi (Trieste, Italy), Lutz Marten (SOAS, UK), Roberto Zamaprelli (Trento, Italy) and their research groups.

Project summary
The structure and interpretation of nouns and noun phrases in Romance and Germanic languages have been extensively studied for 20 years.  The study of Chinese nouns and noun phrases has also contributed to syntactic and semantic theories of nouns and noun phrases.  However, very little has been done in this domain on Bantu languages (cf. Carstens 1991).  As a consequence, we have little understanding of the Bantu nominal domain.  We believe that data from this particular language family might significantly contribute to theory forming, and that macrocomparison might prove particularly fruitful when applied to an area of study that has already produced sensible results through the application of microcomparative methods.  For this reason, this project proposes to bring together Bantu linguists with Chinese and Romance linguists who have published extensively in the nominal domain. read more>>

back to top


Functional Projections in Analytic Languages

NWO-programma (2008-2012)

Principal Investigator: Rint Sybesma,
Co-Investigators: Lisa Cheng, Enoch Aboh, Umberto Ansaldo

Project Summary
Languages differ with respect to which functional categories they overtly realize. Whereas some overtly realize case, others overtly realize the initiation node in the verb phrase (also known as “little v”). This project aims at investigating which functional categories are overtly realized in so-called “analytic” languages and to find out whether they form a natural class. To this end we will study two language groups, which are both supposedly analytic, but which are geographically and genetically wide apart from one another, Sinitic (East Asia) and Kwa (West Africa). The results will be relevant for general theorizing on (i) language types; (ii) the nature of functional categories; (iii) the distribution of functional categories; and (iv) the question whether the verbal and nominal domains are as parallel in structure as is often assumed.

back to top