Reconstructing morpheme order in Bantu: The case of causativization and applicativization

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The morphological ordering relationships among a set of valence-changing suffixes found throughout the Bantu family have been of theoretical interest in a number of synchronic studies of the daughter languages. However, few attempts have yet been made to reconstruct the principles governing their ordering in the parent language. Based on a survey of over thirty Bantu languages, this paper proposes a reconstruction wherein the order of suffixes marking causativization and applicativization was fixed in Proto-Bantu. This reconstruction runs counter to approaches to morphosyntax where semantic scope is taken to determine the order of morphemes but is consistent with templatic approaches to morpheme ordering in the Bantu family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-57
Number of pages55
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Applicative
  • Bantu
  • Causative
  • Diachronic morphology
  • Morpheme order
  • Template


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