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Locative prepositions in Runyakitara

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Beermann, D. and Allen Asiimwe (2008) Locative prepositions in Runyankitara

How to cite this work [1]


Keywords: lexical semantics, spatial semantics, prepositional phrases, locative expressions,

Runyakitara.jpg

Runyakitara|Runyankore-Rukiga provides a rich grammatical inventory for hosting spatial concepts. Next to three nominal class markers which encode deixis as well as topological notions, verbs may carry spatial suffixes. Also spatial nouns are used, some of which combine either with omu, corresponding to English in, or aha, which can mean on, at, near or around. Both omu and aha may occur in addition as locative prepositions. Dependent on the grammatical context they can have several meanings. (1) illustrates the locative use of omu while (2) illustrates a partitive construction.

(1)

Twarugaho twahika Nakawa, omu burugwaizooba bwa Kampala.
“We left that place and reached Nakawa, in the west of Kampala.”
Twarugaho
tuarugaho
1PLPRESleaveFVLOC
V
twahika
tuahika
1PLPRESreachIND
V
Nakawa
nakawa
Nakawa
Np
omu
omu
IVinSPTL
PREP
burugwaizooba
burugwaizooba
west14sun
N
bwa
bua
14of
PREP
Kampala
kampala
Kampala
Np

(2)

emiyembe emihango omuri yo.
“the big ones of the mangos”
emiyembe
emiyembe
IV4mango
N
emihango
emihango
DEF4big
ADJ
omuri
omuri
IV18PART 
PRT
yo
yo
33PL
PN


As already observed by Taylor 1985 [2] omu and aha can undergo morphological changes. Taylor observes that extended prepositional forms occurs when the prepositions precede a pronominal or a proper noun. We further observed that extended forms occur when the locative phrase internal nominal is preceded by a demonstrative.


In our work on Runyankore-Rukiga we could identified several senses for both prepositions; a table listing senses for omu is given below:

omu
INspatial
INpartitive
INtemporal
INparticipate
INsenso-emotional-state



From the perspective of Indo-European languages, the concept embodied by aha is clearly less familiar than that associated with omu. Omu, when used spatially, denotes an inside-location which is clearly delineated by the GROUND. Aha on the other hand refers to a place external to, but nevertheless included in the space conceptually related to the GROUND. Aha can mean on, at , near, or around and expresses a topological notion that seems to encompass several independent spatial concepts in e.g., English. Grounding an object by locating it in the vicinity or on top of another object without specifying a more exclusive place is to our knowledge not a concept lexicalized in the Germanic languages. Aha refers to a space which is only dimensioned by the fact that it is in some sense determined by the presence of the GROUND. A typical use of the preposition aha is given below with another example from the TypeCraft database:

Naareeba enkoko aha rwigi rw’eifumbiro.
“I have seen the hen near/at/on the kitchen door.”
Naareeba
naareeba
1SGPRESseeIND
V
enkoko
enkoko
IV9hen
N
aha
aha
IVSPTL
PREP
rwigi
ruigi
11door
N
rw’eifumbiro
rwaeifumbiro
ofIV5kitchen
N


You find a list of published Runyakitara Text at our Portal of Languages




  1. Dorothee Beermann and Allen Asiimwe. 2008. Locative prepositions in Runuankitara - A Grammar squib. In: TypeCraft (Available online at h http://typecraft.org/tc2wiki/Locative_prepositions_in_Runyakitara, Accessed on yyyy-dd-mm.)
  2. Taylor, Charles. 1985. Nkore-Kiga. (Croom Helm Descriptive Grammars.) London: Croom

The text was last updated: November 2015