Mandarin Chinese Locative Inversion vs. Kinyarwanda Stative Locative Inversion

Jean Paul Ngoboka


This study aims to provide a detailed comparison of locative inversion in Mandarin Chinese with -zhe and (stative) locative inversion in Kinyarwanda. After a brief description of these constructions, the study shows that they are similar in many respects and involve similar restrictions despite the fact that the two languages are genetically unrelated: the agent is deleted and disallowed even in a by-agent phrase; the verb belongs to the type of verbs referred to as placement verbs; and it must express a state after the action. These constructions are incompatible with adverbs of manner as well as some placement verbs that do not entail duration after the action, which is typical of stativization. After a detailed comparison of locative inversion in the two languages, it is concluded that despite the fact that the two languages are not related, the locative inversion in Chinese with -zhe has properties similar to those of (stative) locative inversion in Kinyarwanda. It is proposed that although these constructions are referred to as locative inversion, they are primarily stative constructions in which the locative happens to be in a subject position, where it can alternate with the theme.

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