Deverbal nominals derived from intransitive state verbs in isiXhosa: A Generative Lexicon approach

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 37, issue 1, 2017, pages: 29–39
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2017.1316924
Author(s): Loyiso MletsheDepartment of Xhosa, South Africa


The relationship between deverbative noun classification and the semantic meaning of the derived deverbal nominal has been the focus of many studies in linguistics from very divergent perspectives. This article maintains that the descriptive analysis of deverbal nominals in Bantu languages does not fully interrogate the predicate argument structure of the verbs that host these deverbal nominals. An investigation of how the syntactic properties of verbs from which deverbal nominals are derived is invoked within the paradigm of decompositional lexical semantics so as to explain the argument structure, event structure and qualia properties of deverbal nominals. This is demonstrated in this article, firstly, by the Bantu languages of sub-Saharan Africa. Secondly, this article explores the descriptive nature of deverbal nominals as they manifest themselves either inflectionally or derivationally in the South African Bantu languages, with emphasis on isiXhosa. Thirdly, deverbal nominals drawing on Pustejovsky’s Generative Lexicon paradigm are analysed. Lastly, the findings of the analyses of deverbal nominals derived from intransitive state verbs demonstrate the need for further research on deverbal nominals.

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