My name is Gloria Nabukeera. I am a Mphil student at the Department of Language and Communication Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. I started my studies in 2007 and will finish 2009.
The title of my Masters thesis is Semantic Change, which is based on lexical changes in Luganda, a Bantu Language spoken in Eastern Africa in the Southern part of Uganda. It is funded by the Norwegian State Loan Fund (Lånekassen), under the quota scholarship scheme. The central focus of this study is to document the socio linguistic conditions, causes, and patterns of semantic change in Luganda. Following researchers and linguists such as McMahon (2001),and Blank (1997),who distinguish several types of semantic change. Semantic change can be based on similarity, contiguity and contrast. Metaphoric change is often based on a similarity of senses while metonymy is often based on a contiguity of senses. We see widening of meaning but also narrowing of meaning. These and other changes I will describe in my thesis.
The fieldwork phase of this study was carried out in Uganda during the month of June, July and August 2008. The write up phase is still ongoing in Norway but will be hopefully finished by June 2009. A range of data collection instruments such as questionnaires, key informants and dictionary reviews were employed in order to come gather sufficient data. The data was collected from both primary and secondary data sources. Under primary data, are the key informant interviews and questionnaires while secondary data included document review such as Luganda etymological dictionaries. The primary data consisted of both qualitative (key informant interviews) and quantitative (individual questionnaires). As a native speaker of Luganda, I was able to develop a corpus of words that seem to be used in more than one sense in different communities. I worked with Luganda speakers in a suburb of Kampala (the capital city of Uganda) known as Wandegeya.
Data from the questionnaires was filled in by the researcher, in the spaces provided in the questionnaire, under the interviews. Key informants were selected on the basis of having knowledge about the study subject (lexical semantic changes in Luganda). Among these were University lecturers and professors in the field of semantics, and post graduate students interested in lexical semantic change. Employees at media houses such as Radio Buganda CBS who were identified (through recommendation of other informants) as having broad knowledge about lexical semantic change and were willing to offer guidance about lexical semantic change in Luganda were also interviewed .
From the lexical item identified I developed a Toolbox project which allows me to enter a record for each item with information about its pronunciation, grammatical category, Morphology, original meaning (M1), and otymology. Each meaning identified will be defined and examples of its usage will be given by combining annotated sentences examples with my Toolbox lexicon.