Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 181–254

The lexical integrity principle: Evidence from Bantu

  • Joan Bresnan
  • Sam A. Mchombo

DOI: 10.1007/BF00992782

Cite this article as:
Bresnan, J. & Mchombo, S.A. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (1995) 13: 181. doi:10.1007/BF00992782


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.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Bresnan
    • 1
  • Sam A. Mchombo
    • 2
  1. 1.CSLI, Ventura HallStanford UniversityStanford
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeley