On the Syntax of Reflexives in Yoruba: A Descriptive Perspective

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Joseph Atoyebi
Ogbonna Anyanwu


This paper is a re-examination of the syntax of reflexive constructions in Yoruba from a descriptive perspective. It has been noted in the paper that Yoruba belongs to the class of languages in which the lexical source of the reflexive pronoun is contained in the expression of a body part, in this case, the word for ‘body’ ara, which combines with a possessive pronoun. It has also been observed that the possessive attribute of Yoruba reflexives can also give rise to ambiguous constructions because of the possibility of interpreting the sentences as benefactive semantically. The paper further highlights that an accurate description of the distribution of reflexives and their antecedents in Yoruba involve an examination of the verbs which they co-occur with in terms of the valency classes of the verbs as well the semantic field into which the verbs can be categorized. The paper concludes that all these play a crucial role in the determination of how the sentences involving reflexive pronouns can be interpreted. 

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How to Cite
Atoyebi, J., & Anyanwu, O. (2020). On the Syntax of Reflexives in Yoruba: A Descriptive Perspective. Journal of the Nigerian Languages Project, 2. Retrieved from https://jnlp.com.ng/home/article/view/8
Author Biographies

Joseph Atoyebi

Department of English
University College of North, Canada

Ogbonna Anyanwu

Deparment of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages
University of Uyo, Nigeria


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