The inclusion of prefixal material in Zulu reduplication

Toni Cook


The aim of this paper is twofold: to introduce new data that show reduplication in Zulu admits inflectional morphemes to the left of the verb stem rather than within the stem on the right, and to give an analysis of Zulu reduplication that does not require access to underlying morphosyntactic structure. Instead, reduplication is a template-filling copying operation that interacts with linear phonological structures and does not target morphosyntactic objects. The data presented here argue for an analysis in which the crucial distinction is between morphemes within the scope of reduplication and those outside it; the left/right asymmetry in the appearance of inflectional morphemes in the reduplicant is attributable to a process of Local Dislocation (Embick 2007). Reduplication is treated as a copying operation that has indirect access only to morphosyntactic structure through phonological operations. Consequently, reified subconstituents of the verb complex, such as the Macrostem (Hyman, Inkelas, and Sibanda 2009), are not accessible as such to the process of reduplication. However, data from VCV stems show that morphosyntactic structure affects reduplication in certain constructions. Tonal data is used to show that the “prefixal” affiliation of prefixal morphemes is voided if these morphemes are reduplicated.


Zulu, morphosyntax, reduplication

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