Tag Archives: phrase

The Kisa Verb Phrase (Published)

The phrase is an important unit of analysis in the grammar of languages. Other than the syntactic level, the phrase is also studied at the phonological, morphological, semantic and pragmatic level. The literature on the phrase in English identifies different types of syntactic phrases thus, noun phrase, verb phrase, adjectival phrase, adverb phrase, prepositional phrase (Aitchison, 1992; Aronoff & Reese-Miller, 2006; Crystal, 2010; Fromkin & Hyams, 2010; Lyons, 1992; O’Grady, Archibalds, Aronoff, & Rees-Miller, 2005; Yule, 2006). However, the verb phrase is the most important and widely described phrase because the structure of and the meanings expressed in many languages revolves around the verb word (Crystal, 2010; Lyons, 1992; Yule, 2006). Studies on the Bantu verb have predominantly dealt with the verb word and its structure exploring the elements in a verb word (Downing, 1999; Hyman, 2007; Marlo, 2006). There have been no attempts in the literature at the analysis of the verb phrase in Bantu languages. Therefore, there is no study whatsoever in the Bantu literature dealing with the Verb phrase in Kisa, a Bantu language spoken in Western Kenya. Using a descriptive design and basing on data generated by the author as a native speaker of Kisa, this paper identifies and describes the syntactic structures that constitute verb phrases in Kisa. It delimits the elements that form a Kisa verb phrase and explains how they combine. The paper also explains the relationships that hold between these elements by alluding to syntactic evidence. The paper shows that a Kisa verb phrase has an obligatory element which is the head of the phrase and optional elements. Some optional elements are needed by the head for its meaning to be complete, while others are not. The elements that the head verb needs are closely linked to and in a dependency relationship with the head. Those optional elements that the head does not need to make sense are loosely linked to it and are not in a dependency relationship with the head

Keywords: Kisa, Verb, adjuncts, complements, dependents, phrase