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Typological Features Template for Runyankore Rukiga

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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/. any of these vowels can be short or long. Vowels /i/ and /u/, are high, /e/ and /o/ are middle vowels, /a/ is the low vowel, /i/ and /e/ are front vowels while /u/ and /o/ are the back vowels.

vowels /a e o/ appear in word initial positions, while the high vowel /i/ rarely does and /u/ does not. Runyankore-Rukiga also has a number of diphthongs,they include /ai ei oi ia/ illustrated in the following examples: /ei/: /eizooba/ 'sun', /eishomero/ 'school', /eirwariro/ 'hospital' /ai/: /omuʃaiʒa/ 'man', /kuhaisa/ 'to have food ready', /owaitu/ 'at our home' /oi/: /okuboigora/ 'to bark', /okutoiʒa/ 'to give offerings in church', /okwetomboita/ 'to grumble' /ia/: /okunia/ 'to defecate', /kuniagiira/ 'to make funny noise'.

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

In Runyankore-Rukiga, with its five-vowel system, we find the following vowel combinations in verb roots: /a/ comes after any vowel, therefore, CiCa, CeCa, CoCa, CuCa, CaCa are all possible. However, after /a/ only non-mid vowels are allowed. /e/ can come after /e/ and /o/, an asymmetrical distribution is found for /o/ and /u/: The mid back round vowel /o/ comes only after /o/, and /u/ comes after /e/, /i/, /a/, and /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 is common. For example: /ku-cencur-a/ 'to sieve', /ku-tebuk-a/ 'to lose hope', /ku-ʃerur-a/ 'to search'. Moreover, a vowel occupying the initial syllable position of a verb root can spread throughout the root, e.g. /o-ku-eʃerek-a/ 'to hide (oneself)', /o-ku-ebember-a/ 'to lead', /ku-ʃobooror-a/ 'to explain' etc. Note however, that this spreading can be blocked by /a/. The final vowel does not affect the vowel harmony process in any way. It is used to form open syllables, a phonological characteristic of many Bantu languages. In verbal affixes, the first vowel is either /i/ or /e/. 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 the 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-ʃara =o-ku-ʃarisa '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. This is an idiosyncratic fact: /aɟenzire/ 's/he went', /ateebire/ 's/he scored', /aʃomire/ 's/he read'.

In nouns, vowel harmony is regressive since the vowel in the noun class prefix determines the quality 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 ky ɟ ɲ ʃ z c ʒ h m n w j ɾ r l/. The affricate /ts/ and the trill /r/ are only found in Runyankore. The flap /ɾ/ is not presented orthographically, although it is pronounced in Runyankore dialect. /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 instead of <l>.
Tone Runyankore-Rukiga is a tonal language, with three kinds of tone: high, low, and falling. Minimal pairs differing only in tone can be found. Examples:

èndà 'stomach, belly' éndà 'lice'

ènkômbè 'dove' ènkómbè 'thick millet porriedge' ènkòmbè 'a protruding forehead' àmàʒù 'houses' àmáʒù 'knees'

Note that a single word may be assigned different tones in different environments: some words in isolation or in clause final position have a different tone pattern from when they are in other positions in the clause.

Syllable Structure The syllable of Runyankore-Rukiga takes the following structures: V, CV, CVV, CCV, CCCV, 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:

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 Runyankore-Rukiga has ditransitive constructions, whereby the recipient and theme arguments can be rendered both as direct objects, without one being prepositional.

There are also some verbs which can morphologically be rendered ditransitives, e.g. when an applicative suffix is added, exemplified using the verb okugura 'to buy' below:

Adpositions Runyankore-Rukiga has several prepositions, among them are omu and aha, derived from the locative noun classes of -ha- 16, and -mu- 17 respectively. Omu and aha though categorized as prepostions, exhibit distinct features, from other prepositions e.g. wa, ya, etc which are rendered as 'of' in English. Omu and aha would be classified as spatial nouns as exemplifed in the following examples:

for more on prepositions, follow this link http://typecraft.org/tc2wiki/Annotating_Runyankore-Rukiga#Is_there_a_preposition__.27of.27_in_Runyankore-Rukiga.3F
Complementation Complementizers in Runyankore-Rukiga are ku, and ngu which can be used interchangeably. In the sentence below, 'ngu' can replace 'ku' and the semantics of the sentence is not altered. However, in other constructions, 'ngu' is used as a subordinating conjunction, also exemplified below.

There are other ways of complemantation in Runyankore-Rukiga.

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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