The mosaic evolution of Left Dislocation in Xhosa

Alexander Andrason, Marianna W. Visser


This paper demonstrates that the status of Clitic LD in Xhosa is a result of the mosaic evolution of Xhosa grammar. It emerges as an accumulation and combination of two more individual, distinct and, at least, initially separated developments and characteristics – LD sensu stricto and Object Agreement. This view enables the authors to propose a possible solution to the problem of whether the Clitic LD structure in Xhosa (and Nguni) is an instantiation of LD (and its prototypical function as posited by Westbury (2014)) or fronting (and its topical and focal functions). The Clitic LD structure is employed to accomplish the two tasks. The former is derived from the original LD construction, while the latter arose due to the Object Agreement cycle. The mosaic character of LD in Xhosa, in turn, demonstrates the situatedness of LD. LD is determined not only by its own evolutionary baggage (the source from which it has developed) but also by the dynamics of the environment in which it has been embedded (the properties of other constructions).


Xhosa; left dislocation; object agreement; language dynamics

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help