Typological Features Template for Luganda
|Vowel inventory||Luganda has only 5 vowels: [ a, e, i, o, u ]. Any of them can be long or short.
i: high, front u: high, back e: mid, front o: mid, back a:front, low
Nominal Vowel harmony
|Vowel harmony in Luganda relates to the Luganda Vowel Chart, which contains only five vowels. The vowel on the noun class dictates the initial vowel that the noun takes on. The Luganda noun classes allow only three vowels, namely: [u, i, a]. The occurence of any of those vowels on a noun class dictates the initial vowel in this manner: [u] harmonizes with [o], [i] harmonizes with [e] and [a] harmonizes with [a]. Examples, omuti, emiti, amata.|
|Verbal Vowel harmony||This harmony occurs on suffixes only. This harmony follows this manner: verbs whose penultimate syllable has [a, u, i] harmonizes with [i] in suffixing the root. Verbs whose penultimate syllable has [e, o] harmonizes with [e] in suffing the root.
Examples: sab-a = sabira, fun-a = funira, sib-a = sibira, som-a, sek-a = sekera, simool-a = simoolera
|Consonant inventory||There are mainly 20 consonants in Luganda: [p, b, m, w, f, v, t, d, n, l, s, z, c, j, y, ny, k, g, ŋ, nÿ ]. Bilabials [p, b, m], labiodentals [f, v], alveolars [t, d, n, l, s, z], alveopatal [nÿ], palatals [c, J,ny], velars [k, g, ŋ], semivowels [w,y].Each of those consonants can combine with any vowel to form a syllable. All consonants can be long with the exception of [w,y,l]. A long consonant is one that is pronounced with force as compared to one that is single.|
|Consonantal Combinations||[m] is followed by bilabials. [n] is followed by all other consonants except [l]. [n] is followed by all alveolars except [l]. [ŋ] is followed by all velars.|
|Semi vowel combinations||All consonants can be followed by a semivowel except labiodentals, [f, v]. [f, v] cannot be followed by [w]. [s,z,c,J,nÿ] are not followed by [y]. [ŋ] does not allow combining with [y].
Allophonetic sounds include: [β, ɱ, ɽ, l]
|Tone||Luganda is a pitch-accent or a two tone language. Tone in the roots of uttarances can be arranged as HL or HH. Sometimes a resultant HF tone may occur. The two basic tones are modified by downstepping and downdrifting. Changes in the pitch of a syllable trigers a change meaning of a word. For instance, the word okubala can be marked in two different ways: when all the syllables are marked with high tones, okúbálá, the word will mean "to count"; when only the penultimate syllable is marked high, okubála, the word will mean "to yield or to bear fruit".It thus follows that, for a non-native speaker to learn this language, they must master the tones; they must listhen very carefully.|
|Syllable Structure||Basic syllable structures: V, CV, CV:, C:V, C:V:, NCV, NCV:, Cw/yV, C:w/yV, C:w/yV:, NCw/yV, N|
|Morphological classification (1)||Luganda is principally/basically agglutinative, which in many cases exhibit modifications in the roots of verbs when particular affixes are added. Among the affixes present in Luganda are: prefixes, suffixes and infixes. However, as to whether Luganda has infixes or not is a contetious issue.|
|Morphological classification (2)||Luganda is generally a head-marking language at both phrase and sentence level. For instance, Omwana (N) omuto (Adj) akuba (V) embwa (Obj) [A little child is beating a dog]. In pronominalisation forms, it is possible to have a dependent marking in the verb phrase. For instance, Omwana omuto agikuba. [A little child is beating it]. A- [Subj], -gi- [Obj], kub-a [V].|
|Nominal Phrases||In the following fields we aim for a description of some of the basic morpho-syntactic properties of nominal constituents|
|syntactic structure||The unmarked sentence structure for Luganda is SVO.|
|Nominal modification||Luganda is one of the Bantu languages with a noun class system (sometimes referred to as gender). Of the 23 Bantu noun classes, Luganda has 21. For further information about the Luganda noun class system, consult the following page: A_comparative_analysis_of_Runyankore-Rukiga_and_Luganda_pronominal_agreement.|
|Nominal specification||To specify a noun, Luganda uses determiners, demonstratives, numerals, quantifiers and nominal specifiers.|
|Possession||Luganda uses specific Possessor roots in different grammatical persons.
|Pronominal system||Luganda has both free and bound pronoun forms. All pronouns are marked for their grammatical functions: there are subject and object pronouns. All pronouns in Luganda appear as prefixes. Luganda is also rich in double object constructions.|
|The free pronoun forms are:
|Subject and Object Personal pronouns||Subject Pronouns
|Subject pronouns: example sentences||Nsoma ekitabo ‘I am reading a book’
Osoma ekitabo ‘You are reading a book’ Asoma kitabo ‘He/She is reading a book’ Tusoma ekitabo ‘We are reading a book’ Musoma ekitabo ‘We are reading a book’ Basoma ekitabo ‘They are reading a book’
|Object pronouns: examples||Ansomesa ‘S/he is teaching me’
Atusomesa ‘S/he is teaching us’ Akusomesa ‘S/he is teaching you’ [singular] Abasomesa ‘S/he is teaching you’ [2nd person plural] Abasomesa ‘S/he is teaching them’ [3rd person plural] Yeesomesa ‘S/he is teaching him/herself’(reflexive)
|Verbal Phrases||In the following fields a description of some of the basic morpho-syntactic properties of verbal constituents is given.|
|Word order||The word order in Luganda is SVO|
|TAM||A Luganda verb is agglutinable for 3 tenses: the present tense, the past and the future.
The present tense is zero marked. E.g Nfumba emmere I cook food or I am cooking food. Past tense is marked by three aspect constructions which appear either as prefixes and suffixes. i.e. Nfumbye emmere I have cooked food. Naakafumba emmere, I have just cooked food Nafumbye emmere I cooked food. Nafumba emmere I cooked food. [far past] Future tense is marked by two aspect constructions. Banaafumba emmere They will cook food. Balifumba emmere They will cook food. [far future] In other constructions, Luganda displays periphrastic tenses. e.g Nfumba emmere bulijjo I always cook food. Nja kufumba emmere I will cook food. Ntera okufumba emmere I sometimes cook food. The perfective aspect in Luganda involves various morpho-phonetic changes depending on the phonological environment at hand. For instance all verbs ending in /b, p, m/ will manifest this aspect as '-ye'; all verbs ending in /t,k/ will attract a phonological change, where /t,k/ will change into '-se'. The rest of other phonemes change according to established phonological rules.
|Mood||Luganda makes use of the following moods: imperative mood, conditional mood, subjunctive mood, indicative mood and infinitive mood. There are notable changes that occur on application of imperative mood. In second person singular, the person is not manifest on the verb; second person plural, third person singular and plural person is manifest. In subjunctive mood, the notable change is that, the FV "a" changes into "e" in all persons. Conditional mood is both morphhologically and periphrastically marked on the verb, it is phrasal.|
|Infinitival forms||Luganda has one infinitive form marked by (o)ku-. It should be noted that all Luganda verbs are bound morphs, except about two only that appear as free morphs. The infinitive (o)ku- relates to the 15Oku noun class.|
|Verbal constructions||Luganda has transitive, intransitive, ditranstive and auxiliary verbs. A Luganda verb is glutinable for person, tense, aspect, and mood. Luganda verbs are also known to take on verb extensions common in Bantu languages including causative, applicative, reflexive, reciprocal, capable, passive.|
|Adpositions||Luganda has prepositions at both word and phrase level. E.g mu ‘in’, ‘among’, ‘within’, ‘to’, ‘from’; ku ‘at’, ‘on’, ‘to’; e ‘to’ etc. At phrase level, they appear as, waggulu ku… ‘on top of…’, waggulu wa… ‘above’ etc.
In indicating the grammatical relation between the verb and the noun, Luganda concordial agreements based on the noun class system.
|Complementation||In this field you describe complementation strategies. Does [your language] make use of complementizers?|
|Special Properties of Luganda||Negative sentences in Luganda are usually formed by prefixing si- for 1st person singular (this replaces the 1st person personal pronoun, n-). For all other persons, the prefix te- is used coming before the subject pronoun. Depending on the morpho-phonological environment, the negators, si- and te- change. In environments where the negator comes but not next to a verb, it is an independent entity.|
|Demonstratives||Luganda, has different forms of demonstratives that correspond to the Luganda noun class system. These demonstratives express spatial relations in three distinct ways: proximate [-no], intermediate [-o] (distal) and most distal [-li] (non-proximal).
Examples: Omuti guno gwange, This tree is mine; Omuti ogwo gwange, That tree is mine; Omuti guli gwange, The other tree is mine.
|Orthography||The current Luganda orthography was standardised 1947. This orthography (spelling system) uses the Roman Alphabet. Interesting in this spelling system is the indication of short and long vowels; short and long consonants. The short vowel and consonant are written singly while long vowels and consonants are written double. All vowels (a, e, i, o, u) can be double: omukeeka (mat), maama (mummy), ekibiina (class/group), omuwuulu (bachelor), emmeeme (soul). All consonants can be double except /l, r, h, w, y). For example: okubba (thief), ettama (cheek) etc. The double consonants are pronounced with more stress compared to a single consonant.|
|Short Bibliography||#Ashton, Ethel O., and others (1954) A Luganda Grammar, London: Longmans, Green.