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Inherent and body part anaphors are common in African languages, yet they are understudied in terms of the generative theories applicable to binding and anaphors. These anaphors get reference from the antecedent that comes before it in an utterance. The reference may pose a problem to the listener, since probably the part of the body affected by an action is not known. This paper, therefore, attempts to describe the syntax and semantic of Dholuo inherent and body part anaphors with an aim of identifying the exact part of the body affected by an action. The paper is couched in Government and Binding Theory and particularly in its modules Case Theory and Binding Theory to describe the syntax; while Theta Theory provided semantic interpretation. Data was elicited through the researcher’s intuition as a native speaker. Data was verified by six respondents, native speakers selected using purposeful sampling technique. Thereafter, different types of anaphors collected were presented and analyzed descriptively to show their occurrence and relationship with the antecedent and also assigned case to ensure grammaticality. They were then assigned theta roles to ensure they were meaningful and interpretable. Result indicates that Dholuo inherent anaphors refer to both inanimate and animate beings while body part anaphors refer to animate beings only. Moreover, sentences containing the inherent and body part anaphors were found to be grammatical since they were assigned case according to visibility condition. Semantically, there was a fusion in the assignment of theta roles to the anaphors and the subject. However, the arguments were assigned different theta roles so as not to violate Theta Criterion Principle. But, it was not clear on the exact body part affected by the action of the verb. This then calls for a linguistic theory that incorporates context to vividly indicate the parts of the body affected by the action of the verb.

Anaphors, antecedent, body part, inherent, visibility condition

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How to Cite
ONYANGO, J. A., NANDELENGA, H. S., & OGUTU, E. A. (2021). THE SYNTAX-SEMANTICS OF DHOLUO INHERENT AND BODY PARTS ANAPHORS. Journal of Basic and Applied Research International, 27(8), 27-34. Retrieved from
Original Research Article


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