International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 275

Full Length Research Paper

Semantic roles in Ruluuli-Runyala

Atuhairwe Amos
  • Atuhairwe Amos
  • Department of African Languages, School of Languages, Literature and Communication Skills, Makerere University, Uganda.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 13 February 2020
  •  Accepted: 23 March 2020
  •  Published: 31 March 2020


In this paper, we provide a detailed analysis of the semantic roles of applicative arguments in Ruluuli-Runyala. We present the semantic roles of applicative objects in view of the participant roles as semantically defined under sense relations: There is a general assumption that arguments of a verb could be allocated only one of these roles. The analysis follows the theoretical framework which contextualises participant roles in respect of the meanings of sentences, and often less in terms of grammatical position of referring expressions in sentences. We show the participant roles as indicators of relationships between a verb (and possibly other predicators) and the referring expressions in a sentence. Notably, we identify beneficiary, location, goal, instrument, patient, possessum and temporal participant roles in Ruluuli-Runyala. We show similarities and parametric variations between Ruluuli-Runyala and other languages in literature. We conclude that although Ruluuli-Runyala is to a larger extent semantically unspecified in assigning semantic roles to applicative arguments as in most Bantu languages, it has examples of semantically specified applicative use.
Key words: Semantic roles, grammar, applicative objects, double applicatives, lexicalised cases.