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Colloquium: Travis Major

October 14, 2022, 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Linguistics Department Colloquium:

Travis Major (USC)

“Say”-complementation: re-analyzing Lubukusu complementizer agreement

In this talk, I extend the analysis of “say” complementation structures in Major (2021a, 2021b) of Uyghur (Turkic) and Avatime (Kwa) to Lubukusu (Bantu). “Say” complementation (schematically “I told him SAY I will see you soon”) is among the most common strategies for clausal complementation across the world’s languages (Lord 1976, 1993). I argue that that these clauses are manner adjuncts that literally contain the verb “say” (building on Riis 1854). This is in contrast with the vast majority of the literature, which treats “say” elements as equivalent to English “that”. This talk puts Lubukusu complementation under a similar microscope. I show that properties of phenomena such as “complementizer agreement”, absent in Uyghur and Avatime, can be explained if the apparent complementizer is treated as synchronically verbal in nature. This re-analysis of “say” complementation offers answers to a wide range of seemingly unrelated phenomena, which is extensible to both a wider range of languages and phenomena.


October 14, 2022
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Merrill 316