Anticausatives with passives of subordinate intransitive clauses in Xitsonga

Madala Crous Hlungwani


Literature shows that anticausatives have been well investigated in European languages such as English, German, and Greek. However, this is not the case with African languages, particularly Bantu languages such as Xitsonga. The available evidence suggests that there remain unanswered questions about anticausatives across languages. This article, therefore, is an attempt to reduce this knowledge gap by providing a perspective that seems to have been overlooked in previous studies, namely how anticausatives and passives can interact and complement each other in a single construction. In Xitsonga, anticausatives are marked by the presence of neuter-passive morpheme -ek- on the verb, for example, -hlanhl-a ‘smash to pieces’ > -hlanhl-ek-ile ‘smashed to pieces’, while the passives are marked by the morpheme -iw-, for example, -hlanhl-iw-ile ‘smashed to pieces’. The anticausatives in this paper occur as the main clause while the passives occur as the subordinate hikuva ‘because’ reason clause. The main concern of the present paper is to determine the modification of the passive of the subordinate clause by the PPs denoting agents, instruments, and causers/causing events. On the whole, this paper finds that Xitsonga passives of the subordinate intransitive clause may be modified by PPs denoting agents, instruments (pure-instruments), and causers (instrument-causers) when the verb in such a clause is a motion verb with a reduplicated stem, or a weather verb, and when the passive morpheme co-occurs with the causative morpheme.


Anticausatives; passive; intransitive verb; subordinate clause; causative morpheme; perfect morpheme

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