Clausal complementation in Ruuli (Bantu, JE103)

Marie Louise Lind Sørensen, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper describes the morphosyntactic and semantic characteristics of clausal object complementation in the Great Lakes Bantu Language Ruuli (JE103). In addition to providing an overview of the complementation strategies in Ruuli, parallels will be drawn to constructions described for related languages as well as common cross-linguistic patterns in clausal complementation. Ruuli employs several different complementation strategies, including indicative, subjunctive, and infinitive constructions. Complement clauses can be either unmarked or marked with a complementizer, the most common of which is nti. These two options are also available for direct speech. Other less common complementizers, which cannot be used to introduce direct speech complements include oba, nga and ni. As individual complement-taking predicates do not allow for every complementation strategy, we will explore the semantic and morphosyntactic conditions which predict the choice of complement. To this end, we consider several predictors. We investigate the restrictions imposed by various complement-taking predicate types, e.g. knowledge predicates, phasal predicates and utterance predicates. Then we consider whether the complement expresses a proposition (a truth-valued meaning unit) or a state-of-affairs (a non-truth valued meaning unit) and whether the subject arguments in the two clauses are identical.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)84-110
Number of pages27
JournalStudies in African Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
5 The corpus collected within the project A comprehensive bilingual talking Luruuli/LunyaraEnglish dictionary with a descriptive basic grammar for language revitalisation and enhancement of mother-tongue based education (PI Saudah Namyalo, 2017–2020, funded by Volkswagen Foundation).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Portland State University. All rights reserved.


  • Bantu languages
  • Complementation
  • Ruuli
  • Semantics


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