Implicit Arguments in Ugandan English


In standard British/American English, some transitive verbs, which are ontologically specified for objects, may be used with the objects not overtly expressed (for example, leave), while other transitive verbs do not permit this syntactic behavior (for example, vacate). The former have been referred to as verbs that allow implicit arguments. This study shows that while verbs such as vacate do not ideally allow implicit arguments in standard British/American English, this is permitted in Ugandan English (a non-native variety), thereby highlighting structural asymmetries between British/American English and Ugandan English, owing mainly to substrate influence and analogization. The current study highlights those structural asymmetries and ultimately uncovers some characteristic features in the structural nativization process of English in Uganda, thereby contributing to the growing larger discourse meant to fill the gaps that had characterized World Englishes scholarship, where thorough delineations of Ugandan English have been virtually absent.

Author Biography

Bebwa Isingoma, Gulu University, Uganda

Bebwa Isingoma, PhD, is a senior lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at Gulu University, Uganda, where he also acts as the Dean of the Faculty of Education & Humanities. He is a Fellow of the African Humanities Program, with a residency at Rhodes University (South Africa) in 2015 and an EU Marie S. Curie FCFP Fellow with a residency at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (Germany) in 2018-2019. His research areas include English linguistics (World Englishes and comparative syntax), (variational) sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and Bantu syntax.


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How to Cite
Isingoma, B. (2021). Implicit Arguments in Ugandan English. English Studies at NBU, 7(2), 147-166.