Browsing Faculty of Humanities by Publisher "University of Lancaster"
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Adjective Stacking in Northern SothoIn this paper, I investigate the nature of complex nominal modification in Northern Sotho, a Southern Bantu language and an official language of South Africa. Adjectives in Northern Sotho have traditionally been recognised as a subclass of nouns, based on morphological similarities between nouns and adjectives. Based on recent work which proposes that all languages have a distinct word class ‘adjective’, I argue that adjectives in Northern Sotho constitute an independent grammatical category. I base this suggestion on the common morpho-syntactic behaviour of members of this class and present an in-depth analysis of the ordering of elements in Northern Sotho poly-adjectival nominal phrases. There has been some limited discussion of the theory that there are universal structures in adjective order across different languages, although sequencing in languages with postnominal adjectives is desperately under-researched. Using a combination of corpus data and original fieldwork, I provide support for the suggestion that there are patterns in the syntax of complex modification strings which operate on a universal level, above that of individual languages.