Analyzing Complex Predicates in Swahili


  • Joshua Martin University of Florida


This article will offer an examination of complex predicates in Swahili, an aspect of the language that few have explored in depth. Utilizing a corpus of Swahili complex predicate data compiled using the Helenski Corpus of Swahili 2.0, Tuki’s Kamusi ya Kiswahili – Kiingereza, Swahili – English Dictionary, and online Swahili discussion forums, I will discuss how Swahili complex predicate forms reveal a number of interesting syntactic phenomena. I will then compare two frameworks for analyzing complex predicates in Swahili: 1) a complex head analysis, which is commonly utilized in analyses of complex predicates in other languages, and 2) a DP comple-ment analysis. These two frameworks will be tested against their ability to account for three unique characteristics of Swahili complex predicates: agreement, adjacency, and passivation. The discussion will reveal how the DP complement analysis is better equipped to explain the syntactic phenomena of Swahili complex predicates.