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Typological Features Template for Runyankore Rukiga

Revision as of 09:37, 1 June 2010 by Allen Asiimwe (Talk | contribs)

by Allen Asiimwe and Justus Turamyomwe


Feature Description
Phonological Features
Vowel inventory Runyankore-Rukiga has a typical five-vowel system. That is (i,u,e,a,o,u). It has two high vowels /i/ and /u/, /e/ and /o/ as middle vowels, /a/ is the low vowel, /i/ and /e/ are front vowels while /u/ and /o/ are the back vowels.

While the high vowel /i/ rarely appears in word initial position, /u/ does not, and the low vowel /a/ is always the word final vowel in verbs which is a derivational catalyst. Runyankore-Rukiga also has a number of diphthongs, and these include; ai ei, oi,ia like in the following examples: ei- eizooba (son), eishomero (school), eirwariro (hospital) ai- omushaija (man), kuhaisa(to have food ready), owaitu (at our home) oi- okuboigora (to bark), kutoija ( to give offerings in church), ia- okunia (to deficate), kuniagiira ( to make funny noise).

Note that it is possible for instance in this verbal word 'oine' (you have) for one to think that oi- is a diphthong. It is not: o- is the second person singular pronoun. Morphologically oine = o-in-e

Vowel harmony Runyankor-Rukiga does not make use of ATR feature. Runyankore-Rukiga employs height and back-front and rounding harmony, though the rounding feature cannot occur exclusively.

Runyankore-Rukiga, with its five-vowel system, what is normally found in verb roots is that: /a/ comes after any vowel, therefore, CiCa, CeCa, CoCa, CuCa, CaCa are allowed. However, after /a/ only non-mid vowels are allowed. /e/ can come after /e/ and /o/, the asymmetry is found in /o/ and /u/. The mid back round vowel /o/ comes only after /o/, and /u/ comes after mid vowel /e/ as well as non-mid vowels /i/, /a/, /u/. There are no restrictions of co occurrence among non-mid vowels.

In Runyankore-Rukiga verbs, CeCe,CoCo, CoCe are found, but CeCo is not, instead, CeCo, CeCu are abundant. One would wonder how CeCu is possible since the two vowels /e/ and /u/ do not share any feature in common, thus the high vowel /u/ to come after a mid vowel /e/ looks peculiar but common. For example: Ku-cencur-a (to sieve), ku-tebuk-a (to lose hope), ku-sherur-a ( to search). Important also to share is that; a vowel occupying the initial syllable position of a verb root can spread thought the root e.g. o-ku-esherek-a (to hide oneself), o-ku-ebember-a (to lead), Ku-shobooror-a(to explain) etc. note however, that this spreading can be blocked by a low voice /a/. the final vowel does not affect the vowel harmony process in any way. It is used to form open syllables, a morphological characteristic of Bantu languages. In verbal affixes, the first vowel is either /i/ or /e/. and this is dependent on the shape of the penultimate vowel in the verb root: if it is /a/, /i/, or /u,/ the suffix will begin with /i/. /e/ and /o/ will lead vowel to be /e/; since they are both mid vowels they will require a mid vowel to follow. The harmonizing feature in verb suffixation is height. Examples; o-ku-tera =o-ku-teresa (to beat/draw with) o-ku-shara =o-ku-sharisa (to cut with) o-kutemba =o-ku-tembesa (to cause to climb) Not all verb suffixes are subject to vowel harmony. The perfective suffix -ire fails to undergo any type of vowel harmony. It is an idiosyncratic fact that this morpheme fails to undergo vowel harmony: agyenzire (s’/he went), ateebire(s’/he scored), ashomire (s’/he read).

In nouns, vowel harmony is regressive since the vowel in the noun class prefix determines the shape of the preceding initial vowel while in the case of suffixation in verbs it is progressive because the harmonizing feature spreads from the verb root to the verb suffix.

Consonant inventory The consonantal sounds of Runyankore-Rukiga are p,b,t,d,k,g,f,v,s,ts, sh,z,c,j,h,m,n,w,y r,rr and l. /ts/ and /rr/ sounds are only found in Runyankore. The rolled r though pronounced in Runyankore dialect, is not presented orthographically. /ts/ is also found in Runyankore dialect specifically among the Bahima, a section of Banyankore. /L/ on the other hand is only heard in some few words in the dialect of Rukiga e.g amakala (charcoal). Note however, that in writing, /r/ is written not /l/.
Tone Runyankore-Rukiga is a tonal language, with three kinds of tone: Rising, falling, and rising and falling. Tone in Runyankore-Rukiga has semantic value. It is possible to have two or more words with the same phonetic structure but having different meanings: examples

enda - stomach/belly, éndà - lice

enkômbe -a dove, enkómbe- thick millet porriedge, enkombe -a protruding forehead

amaju -houses, amáju -knees

Note that a single word may be assigned different tones under in different environments: a word in isolation or in the final position, same word appearing in the initial position of a sentence or when other words are expected to follow it.

Syllable Structure The syllable of Runyankore-Rukiga takes different structures: V, CV, CVV, CCV,CCCCV and CCCCVV.
Morpho-syntactic Features
general morphological classification Runyankore-Rukiga is an agglutinating language, characterized by a complex verbal system, with prefixes an suffixes.
Nominal Phrases In general the nominal head precedes the nominal modifiers and determiners. However, in some circumstances, the determiner as well as a quantifier may precede the noun it modifies, as exemplified below:
Buri mukazi akaruka ekiibo
“Every woman weaved a basket”
Egi ntebe ehendekire
“This chair is broken”
structural template
(determiner|quantifier) NOUN demonstrative adjective+ quantifier deverbal adjective relative clause emphatic particle
nominal modification appositives.

nominal specification deixis is marked by proximal, medial and distal.Deixis or reference is represented by affixes which vary depending on the noun class. The language also has demonstratives, numerals, quantifiers and determiners. The definite determiners are expressed by the initial vowel while the indefinite determiners are not marked.

possession It is expressed by affixes which vary according to the noun class prefix. therefore the possessives are comprised of the class prefix and the possessive marker.
pronominal system The language has free pronoun forms e.g emphatics, relative pronouns and self standing pronouns such as nyowe, itwe, iwe, imwe, we, bo and many more, which vary according to the noun class. The language also has bound pronouns which are expressed as object prefixes as well as subject prefixes. All these are marked for number
Verbal Phrases In the following fields serve for the description of some of the basic morpho-syntactic properties of verbal constituents
word order Runyankore-Rukiga, like all other Bantu languages, the basic word order is SVO, however, it exhibits flexibility. Grammatical subjects can be extraposed, demoted or dropped, while the object can be left dislocated or promoted.
TAM Tense and aspect are morphologically marked. All tenses are marked apart from the habitual tense. Tense/aspect markers can either precede or follow the verb root, and they are not necessarily distinct. For Instance -ire marks the yesterday tense and the perfective aspect e.g. n-zin-ire (I danced (yesterday)). -ire also marks the stative aspect e.g. n-dwa-ire (I am sick).
infinitival forms The infinitive marker is -ku-. Follow this link for examples: http://www.typecraft.org/TCEditor/1069/. Also note that certain verbs in their infinitive form render themselves as nouns. Examples: okuramusya= Greetings, Okukunda= love. It is also important to observe that though sometimes verbs in their infinitive forms begin with an initial vowel o-, it is not part of the form, since its presence or absence does not affect the infinitival form of the verb.
verbal constructions In this field you indicate if [your language] has ditransitive constructions, serial verb constructions or complex verb forms composed of several verbs. Does your language have so called light verbs, perhaps only used to indicate a certain tense or aspect?
Adpositions In this field you indicate if [your language[ makes use of prepositions or postpositions. Does your language have spatial nouns? Does your language use adpositions or particles to indicate grammatical relations between the verb and a nominal argument?
Complementation In this field you describe complementation strategies. Does [your language] make use of complementizers?
Special Properties of [your language] In this field you should mention properties of [your language] which did not fit into any of the other categories mentioned in this template
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