Properties of Subjects in Bantu Languages
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This handout discusses how subject words function in various Bantu languages. Bantu languages are pro-drop, hence null subject languages (NSLs). Our initial findings are that preverbal subjects can, in fact, be non-specific indefinites (in at least Lubukusu and Kirundi). In Kirundi, expressions that are not licit in left-dislocated positions are fine as subjects. Person and tense/aspect influence the availability of inverse scope relations. Our preliminary conclusion is that at least some Bantu subjects are in Spec, TP; hence the nature of subject agreement in NSLs does not in general preclude subjects from occupying that position.
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