Empty operator raising in Kitharaka


  • Carolyn Harford


Kitharaka, Bantu, clausal complement, raising


The Kenyan Bantu language Kitharaka (E.54) has a biclausal construction in which a verb with an athematic subject takes a finite complement. A referential NP in the matrix subject position may acquire its thematic role through linkage with an argument at a lower level of embedding. The paper presents evidence that this construction, referred to as Empty Operator Raising, involves empty operator movement, although it is also semantically similar to Raising-to-Subject. If the matrix subject is distinct from the subject of the nearest embedded clause, this clause must contain a clefted NP. The author proposes that this clefting is a distancing strategy to prevent an empty operator in SPEC/CP from binding the embedded subject position, to avoid forming an illicit chain with the matrix subject.