, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 181-254

The lexical integrity principle: Evidence from Bantu

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The lexical integrity principle has been called into question by recent work which hypothesizes a syntactic phrasal source for inflected words. Bantu morphology provides a particularly rich empirical domain for this issue because it straddles the boundary between morphology and syntax, inviting syntactic analyses in both the earliest missionary grammars and recent theoretical works in generative grammar (Myers 1987; Baker 1988a,b; Kinyalolo 1991, Carstens 1991). In this study we show that the morphology and syntax of Bantu noun class markers strikingly support the lexical integrity principle, once the morphemic structure of words is factored apart from their prosodic and functional structures.

A preliminary version of this paper was given at the Colloquium on Agreement at the Twentieth Annual Conference on African Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana on April 21, 1989, and subsequent versions were presented at a UCLA Colloquium in December of 1991 and the Formal Linguistics Society of Mid-America at Northwestern University in May of 1992. We are grateful to Eyamba Bokamba for providing the stimulus and occasion for writing this paper, and to him as well as Alex Alsina, Avery Andrews, Bruce Hayes, Katherine Demuth, Ki-Sun Hong, Larry Hyman, Sharon Inkelas, Jonni Kanerva, Will Leben, K. P. Mohanan, Tara Mohanan, Salikoko Mufwene, Scott Myers, Peter Sells, Whitney Tabor and severalNLLT reviewers for valuable comments on earlier stages of this work, although we alone are responsible for its shortcomings. We are also grateful to Jonni Kanerva for providing and checking tonal transcriptions of Chicheŵa. Our transcription and glossing conventions for Chicheŵa examples follow Bresnan and Kanerva (1989). This study is based upon work supported in part by the United States National Science Foundation under Grant No. BNS-8919880, Stanford University.