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Difference between revisions of "The Structure of the Bantu Noun Phrase"

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*Bantu languages
*Noun phrase
*Noun phrase
*Interrogative words
*Interrogative words

Revision as of 18:48, 22 May 2012

The Structure of the Bantu Noun Phrase  
Type Article
Author(s) Josephat M. Rugemalira
Journal SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics
Publication date 2007
Pages 135-148
Volume Vol.15
Country Tanzania University of Dar es Salaam jmruge@uccmail.co.tz
Annotator Samuel Namugala
Corpus Link The Structure of the Bantu Noun Phrase
Subject(s) Linguistics, Syntax

General Information

This article belongs to the TC Category Interlinear Glossed Text from Linguistic Research.

In this category we collect TCwiki pages that feature Interlinear Glossed Text (IGT) from linguistic publications.

IGT are normally demarcated through indenting, numbering and a space above and under the example. One line of text is followed by one line of glosses and a line with free translation completes the pattern. IGTs from linguistic publications are of particular interest, since they represent a unique alignment of language data and linguistic theory. Example sentences from seminal articles are not rarely quoted in linguistic publications for decades which is another good reason why they need our attention.

In an effort to make IGT more accessible to linguistic research, we try to extract original IGT from linguistic publications and in same cases we provide additional linguistic glosses through a subsequent layer of annotation using the TypeCraft Glosser. In this way we hope to contribute to the re-usability of this data.

On each of the our pages that feature IGT from secondary sources, we also provide a short annotated bibliography, sometimes combined with a list of key-terms which can help to gain a perspective on the research questions raised in the original article. The 'Infobox' may contain further information about the linguistic framework used in the original article, as well as additional classifications of the phenomena treated, whenever that is possible.


  • Bantu languages
  • Noun phrase
  • Elements
  • Modifiers
  • Interrogative words


In this article, the author argues that adposition classes; preposition and postposition exist in Ewe, a Niger-Congo language of the Kwa sub-branch spoken mainly in some parts of West Africa. It was written as a response to claims by other linguists that there can exist, only one of such categories in a language. This is shown in the table below (Example 1).

The article notes that prepositions in Ewe evolved from verbs in the context of serial verb constructions, and that, their distribution vary from their verbal sources:

• Complements of prepositions can be fronted (in focusing) leaving the preposition stranded (Example 2)

• Prepositions with their complements can be preposed and marked as scene-setting topics (Example 3)

• Verbs in series share the same aspect; prepositions are not marked for aspects (Example 4)

Postpositions on the other hand evolved from nouns, especially body part nouns and some landmark terms.

• Postpositions can neither occur as clausal arguments on their own (Example 5)

• Postpositions do not require the connective ‘fe’ in possessive constructions (Example 6)

• Postpositional phrases do not take dative prepositional arguments (Example 8)

However, like nouns, postpositional phrases can function as both subjects and objects (Example 7) and can be direct arguments of verbs (Example 9).

Glossed texts in the article

The following are glossed examples extracted from the article. They are linked to suggested annotations in the TC-wiki page by the writer of this page.

Swahili 2.b)kitabu changu kile
 book mine that
(that book of mine)
Swahili 3.b)kitabu kipya kizuri
 book new nice
(a nice new book)
Swahili 4.)vitabu vingi sana
books many very
(books are very many)
Swahili 6.) kila mtu
each person
(each person)
Swahili 13.a)mtu wangu yule
person mine that
(that person of mine)
Sukuma 22.b)abhanu bhatano bhose abho abhane
 people  five  all  those  my
(all those five people of mine)
Safwa 20.a)bhala abhantu bhani bhasanu
 those people  my  five
(those five people of mine)
Safwa 20.a)abhantu bhani bhasanu bhala
  people my  five  those
(those five people of mine)
Mashami 3.a)kitabu kasha kidodori
  book red  good
(a good red book)
Ha 16.b)abhantu bhanje bhaya bhataanu bhasole
 people   my  those  five  good
(those five good people of mine)

Related Articles

Mark Van de Velde (University of Leuven/FWO). The order of noun and demonstrative in Bantu. Available online at http://llacan.vjf.cnrs.fr/pers/vandevelde/files/pdfs/The-order-of-noun-and-demonstrative-in-Bantu.pdf Accessed on 2012-05-22.