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Animacy Effects and Locative Marking in Shona Applicatives

Raúl Aranovich


As in other symmetrical languages, the relative order of theme and goal in Shona applicatives is free. However, when the two complements are human, word order freezes inside the VP, with the applied argument realized as the primary object. This paper develops an analysis of this phenomenon in Bidirectional Optimality Theory. It is argued that object freeze results from the absence of formal differences between alternative candidates. Additional data from locative marked applied objects provides evidence in favor of the weak version of B-OT, since more marked forms constitute super-optimal pairs with more marked meanings.

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