Clausal Complementation and Selection Project
This research initiative explores how predicates select for clausal complements. Natural languages most typically make available several different clause types which can function as the complements to a verbal (or adjectival) matrix predicate and it is frequently possible, in a given language, to predict which of the several clause types in the language the predicate will select based on the lexical semantics of that predicate. Native speakers appear to acquire the typology of clausal complementation in their language without explicit instruction, which raises familiar poverty of the stimulus questions that imply a great deal of tacit knowledge about the consequences of what a verb means for the syntactic form of the complement it selects. Although work on the semantic and syntactic selection by verbs that take nominal or prepositional complements has been a staple of linguistic work for many years (as, for example, in the work of Levin and Rappaport, 1995 and much work on thematic roles), relatively little research has sought to use crosslinguistic contrasts to identify the key factors, or even the key generalizations, that should inform our account of how speakers arrive at the classification of clausal complementation in their native language. Our proposal is to use the Afranaph resources to explore this question.
This is attractive in that the African languages permit us to investigate two types of crosslinguistic comparison: comparisons between languages that are broadly different, both in history and typology (e.g. across Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Congo, and Nilo-Saharan), and comparisons among languages that are broadly similar, but differ in the details of clausal selection in ways that reveal smaller cleavages in classification (e.g., across the Bantoid languages).
Clausal Complementation Questionnaire (CCQ)
How to initiate an Afranaph Sister Project
- How likely is your project to add to the data that we have in a way that might have synergy with other existing projects and/or is it an area of theoretical interest that involves a rich empirical pattern which the project will not otherwise address?
- Can a plausible argument be made that the empirical domain your project will explore is coherent, phenomenally (an evidence pattern) or theoretically (the data applies to a well-defined question), and is likely to lead to interesting crosslinguistic comparisons (either because there is interesting variation or an interesting lack of it)?
- Can you reasonably commit your own resources to making your project a success? We generally prefer to deal with projects that have collaborators to spread the work and responsibility, or those who have some resources at their own institutions that can help to diminish the strain on Afranaph infrastructure.
- Is there a plausible argument to be made that your project might eventually receive support outside Afranaph to cover its expenses?
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Afranaph Project18 Seminary PlaceNew Brunswick, NJ 08901Phone: 732.932.7289Fax: 732.932.1370
- African Languages
- African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA)
- Bantu Grammar Network
- Bisharat! African language encoding, fonts and keyboards
- CBOLD (Comparative Bantu Online Dictionary)
- Columbia University Library's African Studies Resources
- Dogon Languages Project
- Lexicon of Linguistics (linguistics terms)
- National African Language Resource Center
- National Science Foundation
- Rutgers University Department of Linguistics
- Stanford's South of the Sahara Internet Resources on Language
- The Linguist List
- The Webbook of African Language Resources
- University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS)
- African Languages and Cultures
- Africana Linguistica
- Africanistik Online
- Bayreuth African Studies
- Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa
- Journal of African Languages and Linguistics
- Journal of Afroasiatic Languages
- Journal of West African Languages (JWAL)
- LINCOM EUROPA
- Menha Publishers
- Nordic Journal of African Studies
- Rüdiger Köppe Verlag
- South African Journal of Linguistics
- South African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
- Stanford Monographs in African Languages
- Studies in African Linguistics
- University of Leipzig Papers on Africa