It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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Dependency Reversal in Noun-Attributive Constructions: Towards A Typology
This study is conceived as a contribution to a typology of attributive constructions, focusing on constructions exhibiting splits of head properties. The term "dependency reversal in noun-attributive constructions" (DNRA) is used to refer to possessive-like attributive constructions (of the type (that) idiot of a doctor), with the attribute surfacing as the formal head and the semantic head surfacing as the formal possessor. The body of the study presents a discussion of DNRA constructions as attested in six individual languages: Even (resp. Other Tungusic languages), Aleut, Hausa, Gude, Chinook and Latin. The variation of the DNRA patterns, in particular along the parameter of the attribute's upgrading/recategorization, is further considered. Following the lines of structure-based typologies, an upward taxonomy of DNRA structures is presented to include other cases of constructions involving the attribute's upgrading and the head (-to-possessor) demotion. In search of DNRA related patterns the discussion is extended to internal relative clauses and constructions with "dominant attributes". Finally factors favouring the rise of DNRA structures are tentatively considered: apart from diachronic factors, underdifferentiation of lexical categories as well as pragmatic salience of the attribute are shown to contribute to DNRA processes.