I recently gave a talk on Zulu morphosyntax in which I (hopefully politely an respectfully) challenged some of the mainstream approaches to Zulu syntax. The working paper is now out, in the Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America, available here (pdf download under "full text").
It's not a fun read for a layperson, but the general gist is that (1) a lot of previous syntax work doesn't pay enough attention to the phonology, (2) the justifications for arguing that the noun augment is really a determiner are a little shaky, and (3) if we just treat the 'linking vowel' as a determiner, everything is simpler. This has the unexpected outcome of also suggesting that Zulu has construct state, something known (and controversial) in Semitic languages, but not known to exist in Bantu languages. To paraphrase a colleague at Penn, I've reduced a seemingly unique thorny problem to an already known thorny problem, which is about as good as you can hope for in syntax.
©Taylor Jones 2018
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