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The structure of the do/make construction in Chichewa and Chichewa/English

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Title: The structure of the do/make construction in Chichewa and Chichewa/English
Author(s): Batteen, Christopher
Subject(s): Syntax Chichewa Code-switching Language contact
Abstract: This paper analyzes a structure found in Chichewa for adapting English verbs. This structure, in which an English verb or adjectival predicate complements a Chichewa light verb meaning ‘do’ or ‘make’, appears to be employed during code-switching. Code-Switching (CS) is found quite frequently among populations which use more than one language. CS occurs when lexical items and strings of two languages are found in one discourse, sentence, or even phrasal category. This construction is not limited to English verbs. I suggest that the English items go through a nominalization process. The data illuminating the ‘do/make’ structure give strong evidence that two parallel structures exist. One structure works on a monolingual level, and the other structure employs two separate languages. I propose that the Chichewa verbs -chit- ‘do’ and -pang- ‘make’ serve as light verbs that contain little or no semantic information, which may precede a nominalized English bare verb. The English verb allows the semantic construal of an event, while the light verb creates the appropriate Chichewa syntactic structure and makes it well-formed. I suggest that most English verbs undergo a syntactic process of nominalization before being inserted into a Chichewa sentence structure following a ‘do’ or ‘make’ verb. This paper attempts to draw parallels between monolingual grammars and multilingual grammars of language rather than rely on code-switching specific models.
Issue Date: 2012-12-12
Publisher: Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info: Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 2012: 1-16
Genre: Article
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/35292
ISSN: 0049-2388
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed: is peer reviewed
Rights Information: Copyright © 2012 Christopher Batteen
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-12-12
 

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